Meet a Mentor: Brittany Johnstone
Each connection between a mentor and a mentee is unique and special. Sometimes, the bond is formed over shared interests or common grief journeys. Some relationships start over a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. Many times, for Brittany Johnstone, her mentee relationships develop through texting, social media and email.
Brittany is a surviving adult child who lost her father in a helicopter crash during a training mission in February 2001. Because her father's death was prior to 9/11, Brittany felt that it was an isolating time to be a surviving child. It wasn't until 2012, after a season of transition in her life, that she finally made the decision to come to TAPS. Through TAPS, she has been able to find a community of adult survivors who understand what she has gone through, and mentoring has given her the chance to be a resource to others.
When Brittany first started mentoring, she tried reaching out to her mentees over the phone. Then, she got a mentee who only wanted to communicate through email, and Brittany said that's when it clicked that she should communicate with her mentees through whatever way makes them most comfortable, and her age group tends to prefer texting, emails and Facebook messages.
"I continue to be surprised with how deeply you can connect with people through texting, email or Facebook messages," Brittany said. "When you invest time in people through those modes of communication, you can make it really personal."
Now, the way Brittany supports and connects with each mentee is different from person to person, but the goal is always the same - to help survivors know they are cared for and supported.