SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – On Monday, Mayor Paul TenHaken officially launched Sioux 52, a new mentoring initiative encouraging all of Sioux Falls to get involved in mentoring.
One of those ways is through the Lutheran Social Services mentorship program. Daren Anderson has been mentoring Lincoln High Senior Archer Hoffpauir since he was in third grade and, over the years, it’s become much more than just a job.
Hoffpauir first met his mentor in the third grade when they first bonded over a game of Uno.
“We played Uno every for week for like three years. We got very good at the game,” Hoffpauir said.
“I remember sitting in these little chairs and I said – I told him – I said, ‘This is really kind of small,’ and he’s like, ‘Oh it’s not that bad,'” Anderson said.
They would go on to meet every Thursday since for the next nine years. Over time, their relationship turned into more than just a game.
“Through high school I’ve been a lot more open and, kind of, been asking about more personal stuff such as relationship issues and what’s going on, let’s say, current events,” Hoffpauir said.
Anderson says spending time with Hoffpauir, whether it’s playing a game or just grabbing lunch, is the highlight of his week.
“If you’re having the worst day at your job and you take an hour off and you go see your student, it completely changes your whole perspective,” Anderson said.
Creating a bond like that of father and son.
“I never had kids, so yes, I think of Archer as maybe the son I never had,” Anderson said.
“I can just talk to him whatever I can’t – I don’t even talk to my friends some of this stuff and I trust him enough to tell him that type of stuff,” Hoffpauir said.
“It’s a good feeling to know that you can have somebody there,” Anderson said.
But soon, every child has to grow up; Hoffpauir graduates from high school this May. He is enlisted in the Marine Corps and heads to basic training in August, which leaves the chance to hang out once a week out of the cards.
“It’s going to be a little weird not seeing him every week,” Hoffpauir said.
But a friendship that Hoffpuir can always keep with him.
“I can still text him If I need anything really,” Hoffpauir said.
And memories that never get lost in the shuffle.
“It’s going to pay you back tenfold,” Anderson said.
If you’re interested in being a mentor to someone, Lutheran Social Services is giving you a opportunities try it out today and Friday.