The MENTOR Network

Success Stories

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Mentor and client in The Network's Host Home program

Richard, a young man with developmental disabilities served by Network partner California MENTOR, has a way of making an instant impression. It’s often done with his sense of humor, which he uses as an ice-breaker with just about everyone he meets.

“Richard has been making me laugh since the first day I met him,” said Lee, Richard’s Mentor. “When we first met we instantly clicked. I knew that I could give Richard the guidance and support he needed to succeed, and California MENTOR supported me wholeheartedly.”

Richard, 36, had been living in a group home before he came to Lee in California MENTOR’s Host Home program—also known as a Family Home Agency—which matches individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to be part of the community with nurturing caregivers, who we call Mentors.

Richard Never Gives Up

An exceptionally determined individual, Richard has been attending Fresno City College for 16 years, working to earn his Associates Degree. Lee helps him keep up with his coursework, providing structure, motivation, and encouragement. After years of hard work, Richard is almost ready to graduate.

When he’s not working toward his degree, Richard spends his free time performing as a stand-up comedian. Lee laughs to himself as he recounts some of Richard’s best jokes. “You should hear his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression! It brings down the house.”

Lee is Richard’s biggest cheerleader and has helped him book performances at local comedy clubs and restaurants. California MENTOR staff and their families regularly attend Richard’s shows. “The crowds and performers love him!” said Lee. “He’s bonded with his fellow comedians and has made a great group of friends.” Through his friendships within the comedy community, Richard has even been invited to perform at the famous Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles.

Lee is grateful for the support he and Richard receive from California MENTOR. “The MENTOR staff are really invested in helping Richard achieve his goals,” said Lee. “No matter how late at night or how far away he performs, he always has a friend in the audience.”

Richard appreciates the support, too.

“Lee and my coordinators help make my dreams come true,” said Richard. “I always have someone to support and encourage me and I feel like a true member of the family.”

“When we first met we instantly clicked. I knew that I could give Richard the guidance and support he needed to succeed, and California MENTOR supported me wholeheartedly.”
—Lee, Richard’s Mentor