Mark Hockey recognized as devoted mentor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mark Hockey recognized as devoted mentor

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Mark Hockey has two mentees, Thomas and Justice. Hockey joined the TeamMates Mentoring Program through Waterloo Schools three years ago at the recommendation of a teacher.

He was first paired with Justice who's now a sixth grader at Bunger Middle School. The next year, Hockey also began mentoring Thomas at Poyner Elementary.

"I don't always know what to do, but we always think of something. We have fun," said Mark Hockey.

On this day, they're making birdhouses. Justice said Mark Hockey is a great mentor because he's a big kid at heart.

"He likes doing stuff I do. He likes Legos. He's open to whatever I like to do," said Justice Gunhus.

Justice's father passed away, and he lives with his grandma. He admits he acted out before meeting with Hockey.

"My behavior was horrible and ever since he started in, my behavior's gotten better and better," said Gunhus.

Justice said Mark Hockey is just the type of person he needs to be around.

"He's a very positive male figure in my life," said Justice Gunhus.

Thomas didn't want to talk on camera, but he also wanted to thank his mentor.

Mark Hockey just received a certificate for giving up an hour every week with each of his mentees.

"It's the best hour of my whole week. I swear it is. When I leave my face hurts from laughing. You never know what they're gonna say or do," said Hockey.

While they do have fun, Hockey said academics always come first. When the boys are doing well in school, they make time for activities like the birdhouses, which are a learning experience as well.

Mark Hockey plans to stick with both Thomas and Justice until they graduate. He said any time spent with a child is a good investment.

To learn more about TeamMates Mentoring Program, click here.

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