Shannon de Laat’s Mentee Experience

Alliance of Moms member Shannon de Laat is the founder of SdL PR firm. A loyal AOM member, she garnered interest in our mentorship program after attending various events with our youth. Shannon is currently mentoring eight-year-old Aaniyah, accompanying her on different adventures around the city.

How did you get involved with the Alliance of Moms?

When I met the team at Alliance of Moms the relationship flowed so naturally; the founders continue to inspire me by the incredible work that they do. They make magic happen in a way that appears almost effortless (although I know all of the hard work they do behind the scenes). When they announced the mentorship program with Imagine LA, I didn’t think twice about volunteering.

What drew you to participate in this program?

For me it is personal, I’ve had a strong sense of duty instilled in me from a very young age. I have a photo on my fridge of myself as a teen, with the young girl our family hosted every year from The Friends of Chernobyl Project with a quote that says: “The only way we are ever going to ensure peace on this planet is to adopt the entire world as our family.” It is in my DNA to share the responsibility, to see the need and respond.

What are some of the learnings from this experience, to date?

It can be busy, juggling schedules (particularly picking up Aaniyah from various locations across greater LA) but the reward far outweighs the dilemma of battling LA traffic. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, challenged by a strong-willed, determined eight-year old girl, who asks me questions that I don’t always know how to answer. The team at Imagine LA is extremely resourceful, and just a text message away if I have any questions or even need to brainstorm ideas + activities to do with Aaniyah. It has been a pleasure working alongside them.

What are some of the activities you do with your mentee?

I took Aaniyah to the LA Zoo for her very first time. She had never been before. She wasn’t interested in going at first, so I told her that we would try it out, and if she wasn’t having fun, we could leave. By the time we were ten minutes into the zoo, and walked up to see the giraffes, the shift in her facial expression was incredible. Just seeing these animals live and up close blew her away. You could tell that she wanted to reach out and touch them. She didn’t want to leave at the end of the afternoon. When we were walking to the car she stopped in the parking lot and hugged me. We didn’t really need to say anything else after that.

What do you think this experience brings to the mentees?

I think the way we treat our children directly impacts what they believe about themselves. It really just takes love and practicing patience. I’ve developed a true relationship with Aaniyah. We have weekly conversations and do everything we can to try and see each other once every two weeks, sometimes more. It is really just the small things often that have the biggest impact. Even just being a dependable person she can count on.