Barry Nelson, 42, engineer, husband and father of four, is a busy man. Even so, he still finds time to devote to one other role: mentor.
Barry has been mentoring at Miller Mentoring since 2001, a year after the program first started. The goal of the program is to provide a one-on-one support system for Winona area students grades 5 through 12, and help guide their education through graduation.
The connection is intended to be close and long-lasting; during his years as a mentor, he has only mentored two students.
“It has been a great experience,” he said.
Barry’s first student came to him in middle school and stayed into high school, though he ended up dropping out his junior year.
“He had so much promise,” Barry said. “He was extremely intelligent. And had a lot of energy that just could have gotten focused in a good direction.”
Barry said follow-through is a skill a lot of young people have to work on — including his own children.
“They’ve got the capabilities, but it’s just finishing that’s the key,” he said.