Meet Christian Dillon
May 9, 2013 | Chicago, IL
Dear Erie Supporter,
My name is Christian Dillon and I currently attend Erie Neighborhood House’s Tutoring to Educate for Aims and Motivation (T.E.A.M.) program, a one-on-one mentoring program that partners students with mentors to work on homework together. Before I started T.E.A.M., I was unsuccessful in school. My grades in elementary school were poor; countless times, teachers suggested I repeat a grade level so I could be successful later on. I admit, it was my fault I was doing poorly in school—I wasn’t completing my homework on time and I didn’t take school seriously; however, when I joined the program, my attitude changed. My mentor pushed me to try harder, and when I did, it showed me that I was capable of far greater things then I ever thought possible.
Because of Erie House and the program, my way of thinking changed. As I mentioned, I began taking school seriously and started doing my homework. I also did something I had never done before—I started studying at home and during my mentoring sessions. Consequently, my grades in high school sky-rocketed. Straight A’s began appearing on my report card and before I knew it, I was in the top ten percent of my class.
Without Erie House and their support, I wonder where I would be. Would I be on the corner of my block hanging out with “so called friends” fearing whether or not I would live another day? Would I be a young dad who made a wrong decision? No one knows for sure, but I am glad I had the support from Erie House and a mentor who made sure I didn’t take the harder path in life.
Because I made the changes that made school the focus in my life, this showed colleges I am a great student. Consequently, I received a full ride scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which I will be attending in the fall. Having received this opportunity is huge. When I was younger, I did not see myself going to such a great school— and because of Erie House, not only will I be going to college, I will be attending college for free.
Since I am not able to give back financially to Erie House right now, I pay it forward by being a T.E.A.M. mentor to a 6th grade student, Ian. Since having a mentor impacted my life so much, I decided to give the same experience to a student who is in the same position I was in when I was younger. Although Ian is a well-rounded student, his grades—like mine at one point—were dropping. After long hours of helping Ian study for tests and assisting him on his homework, he was able to bring his grades back up and is now on track to get into a good high school.
In the future, I plan on continuing to mentor young students and supporting Erie House to make sure such a great place stays open for many more years to come.
Thank you for your support,