Simply Ari: Simply Me
The Inspired Thoughts of a Ready Writer
"My tongue is the pen of the Ready Writer"
Traditionally, mentorship has been defined as a stint of time during which a pupil receives guidance by an experienced person in a particular field or educational setting.
Webster defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide.
I have had experience with mentorship both on the giving and receiving end.
One of my fondest memories in high school was the day I was accepted into the Peer Ministry Program going into my senior year at Bishop McNamara. The application and interview processes were lengthy, grueling, and highly selective, but I knew that the passion I had to minister to youth and young adults alike was put in me for a reason and I wanted to explore those reasons. I was overwhelmed to the point of tears when I got the letter in the mail that I had been selected. Now was my chance to be transparent about hard lessons that I’d learned and through my sharing, provide a space where my mentees were comfortable enough to do the same. I took my job as a Peer Minister very seriously. The accompanying class, the lesson plans and retreat planning were all added bonuses. The reward for me came years later, when one of my former mentees expressed that he was going to attend the same college as me because I had inspired him and when another mentee reached out to me over Facebook and told me how much my efforts to stay in contact with her after I graduated had meant to her.
During my time as an undergraduate, I was blessed work closely with the campus ministry department. I was often called upon to minister [through music] to incoming classes and had the opportunity speak at a few retreats during my time at Mount St. Mary’s University. I was a Peer Minster there as well along with a few others and together we aided the campus’s Resident Assistants with faith-based programming. During my second semester of sophomore year, I applied to become an R.A. as a junior. By God’s grace, I was selected and became the women’s Resident Assistant for Faith-Development. I was in charge of about 36 residents. It was during this stint of time that I was able to pour into my girls. I was able to share some insights that I had learned as a fellow college student, but most importantly as a Christian living in a carnal world. I really wanted to give them substantial information that could potentially last them a lifetime.
Most recently, I was approached by a former teacher and close friend about being a part of a non-profit organization that he had developed called WAAE (We Are All Educators). I am now a proud member and serve a mentor to a recently graduated high school student. Over the past year, it has been an incredible opportunity to seed into another person and watch her grow and develop as a writer and watch her passion for the field grow and develop. It has been such a rewarding experience to be a part of this organization and give back in this way.
Now what about my mentors?
There have been some very special people in my life who over the years who have imparted wisdom and sage advice to me. They have guided me through countless conversations and prayer and helped me refine my ideas into attainable goals and actionable tasks. It was my late grandmother, Erotida “Lilian” Ponce Gaskill who told me, “Ariel, you can’t just love what you create, you have to learn to love the process of creating.” It was my first communications teacher Mr. Shealer who shared on the first day of class, “Everybody has a story. It is the job of the journalist to find that story and to tell it well.” It was my mom who first told me, “Ari, you can’t be a good writer, if you are not first a reader.” For a long time, what she was saying didn't register in my mind and heart. Now I get it. As a writer it is essential to foster your creativity, gain new perspectives, pull from your personal experiences, tap into the emotional impact that other people's stories have had on you, and have faith to believe that God will grant supernatural insight, understanding and wisdom of those new ideas. All of that fuels the inspiration of the #ReadyWriter.
I have also had so unconventional mentors, people whom I’ve never (or not yet) met, but they have inspired me so much with their knowledge of the industry. Namely radio personality, Nessa Nitty, Entertainment Journalist, Gia Peppers, Media Personality and Talk Show Host, Wendy Williams, retired journalist at Dallas Morning News and National Association of Black Journalists co-founder, Norma Adams-Wade, Radio Personality and TV Host, Ryan Seacrest, Radio Personality, DJ Tony Redz, TV Host, Lola Ogunnaike, Authors Havilah Cunnington (Eat, Pray, Hustle and The Good Stuff) Ann Shoket (The Big Life), Aliza Licht (Leave Your Mark), Jordan Raynor (Called to Create) and Brittany Hennessy (Influencer).
What I am learning is that mentorship does not have to look a certain way to be effective. In my experience, it has been a tool that God has used to confirm my purpose and keep me moving forward as His Holy Spirit leads.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.