Aug 20, 2023

Ms. Diaz - A Front Office Perspective

Ms. Diaz shares about how she has witnessed 30 minutes of mentoring change kids' lives in the school she works at, and also hers!

Ms. Diaz


My name is Yamilka Diaz and I want to share my story with you today.  I work at Emerson Elementary School and precisely at the front office, where I have the pleasure to be the first one to meet and greet every one of our visitors!

That is how I was able to meet with two incredible ladies from Friends of Westchase, Farah Armstrong and Kristy Elmore, who introduced me to Grace and the mentoring program.  

What I've Seen in Mentoring

As I began to meet the mentors, I realized that Grace was not only supporting teachers, but also working in deeper ways, carrying the love of the Jesus to mentor students. Emerson mentors spend 30 minutes a week with their mentees, and always show up with a smile and a positive attitude, totally decided to help, to be open to the kids needs, to the kids stories – good or bad!  Mentors bring our kids moments of peace, tranquility and joy.  

You may wonder how much of an impact someone can have in 30 minutes once a week?  Well, I am a witness of the work of the mentors.  Some mentors play games, play basketball, help with reading or homework, it doesn’t matter – the kids know they are loved.  And As I walk through the halls of the school, the mentees will ask me, “Is my mentor at the front office?”  “Is he coming soon?”  Kids want to know love.

You see, some of our kids have been through a big change in their life or they come from big families where it is hard to get any attention at home.  Having an adult visit every week to focus only on them reminds our mentees how special they are!  

Getting to Know the Mentors

As I got to know the mentors, I watched and began to realize how the members of the Grace family share their love and their blessings.  The Lord was working through them to impact not only the kids, but everyone around them, me included!

I must say that first time I met with Farah and Kristy, something changed for me.  We spoke about the Lord and they invited me to Grace.  The Lord used Friends of Westchase to open my heart to God again, leading my kids and I into a new journey of faith.  

This happened at a moment that only God could have planned for me.

My youngest son, Daniel, who was 12 at the time, had been through several surgeries and he was emotionally and mentally struggling.  He had missed 5 months of school, and I was feeling hopeless, not knowing how to help him.

Getting to Know Grace

I began visiting Grace, I knew I wanted to feel God’s love!  I started meeting a lot of amazing people who were willing to help and guide me into this new faith journey.  This is when I was invited to the Alpha Program!  This program changed my heart and is what deeply connected me with life at Grace.

I mentioned earlier that Mentors go for 30 minutes to meet with their mentees.  What you may not know is that those few minutes are working in many ways.  Not only in the life of the child, but the impact also has a ripple effect, changing lives around the school and even goes home with students to impact families.  I have loved being here for church and seeing other Emerson families visiting, too! 

My Prayer

My prayer is that you will consider serving as a mentor to a child this year.  And for you to give yourself a chance to experience a new faith journey into the community around you full of refugees, newcomers to the country, families who feel lost, lonely and without hope.  

You Can Make a Difference, Too!

You can make the difference and your presence DOES change lives.  I am living proof how far those 30 minutes can travel!  The love of Christ, through Grace members, spread through the community and found me.  God’s love and this church changed my life.