Mentor-Mentee Spotlight: Jadyn & Denis

Mentoring can change lives.  Learning Life’s mentoring program is different from a typical mentoring program in two ways.  First, we mentor Learning Life’s kids wherever their families live in the world.  Second, our mentors, all based in the United States, focus on opening our kids to the world through conversation, discussing videos, articles, photos or other content,  and in Washington DC, where our mentors can meet face-to-face with their local mentees, through visits to museums, libraries, embassies, cultural festivals, foreign restaurants and other venues.  Denis Chazelle has been mentoring Jadyn Walker since September 2018.  Learn more about each of them below.  Learn more about our mentoring program here.     

Denis & Jadyn at the French Embassy in Washington DCMentee: Jadyn Walker
Where were you born and where have you lived so far?

I was born in Washington, DC, and have lived here all my life.

Where do you go to school, and what grade are you in?

I go to school at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School. I am in fourth grade.

What is/are your favorite subject(s) in school?

My favorite subjects in school is math and social studies.

What are your hobbies?

I like to play on the playground and play drums.

What do you like about your mentor?

He takes me to a lot of places, and he’s really nice.

What’s one rewarding experience you’ve had thus far with your mentor, and what made it rewarding?

Going with him to his house to play board games and learn about the world.

Denis & Jadyn at Union MarketMentor: Denis Chazelle
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Troyes, the historic capital of the Champagne region of France.
What’s your current and/or past line of work?
I am the Executive Director of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC.  In the past, I have been a teacher at the French International School and then an entrepreneur: co-owner of an indoor soccer facility, owner of a computer training company with 4 different centers, and an IT (information technology) consultant.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy mountain biking throughout the world. I have done long distance races such as the Tour Divide, going from the Mexican border to Banff, Canada, the French Divide going from the Belgian border to the Spanish one, and I have crossed the French Alps three times.  I also enjoy watching professional basketball (the NBA), dining at new restaurants in DC, and I’m a bit of a political junkie (lots of CNN and MSNBC).
Why did you choose to volunteer with Learning Life?
I think it fits my skills and international background.  I like kids, and I think it’s important to give back and to help those who may not have the same opportunities I have had.  Learning Life teaches kids by exposing them to the world, and I can help do that a little bit.
What do you like about your mentee?
Jadyn is smart, curious, very friendly, and eager and quick to learn. He’s also fun to be with, and I can spend time with him without feeling like I’m baby-sitting him.  It’s enjoyable.
What’s one rewarding experience you’ve had thus far with your mentee, and what made it rewarding?
I think our visit to the French Embassy in Washington DC, where I have my office, was special.  Jadyn was very quick to make friends with everyone he met there, from the Chef, to the server at the Cafe, to the guards at the gate, to the Embassy Police, to the IT specialist, to military attaches and even to the General, with whom he had lunch!