Making a Difference: Peter and Dakota!

Ten years ago, Peter and his wife, Wendy, starting tutoring at an elementary school in Superior. They were matched with two boys — one of them being Dakota, who was in third grade when Peter started helping him with math homework and reading. Their friendship grew over the years, and Peter decided he wanted to be more involved. They decided to join the Mentor Duluth/Superior program in 2009 and have been spending time together ever since.

Peter, 70, is amazed to have witnessed Dakota, 18, grow from waist-height to well over his head. Over the years Peter and Dakota have spent numerous hours playing basketball at the YMCA. Peter taught Dakota basketball skills that Dakota now uses against him in games of one-on-one.

They’ve also participated in various Mentor Duluth match activities over the years, cooked meals, baked and volunteered together. Their outdoor adventures include camping, fishing and exploring nature. Peter’s favorite memory was when they took a trip up the North Shore where they skipped rocks and enjoyed the scenery.

Like many teens, Dakota has faced some challenges throughout the years. He has a supportive family but felt it was great to have an influential, consistent adult like Peter in his life as well. He thinks of Peter as a grandpa, saying, “He pretty much taught me everything I know.”

Peter and Dakota were selected as recipients of the Albert & Louise Ordean Making a Difference Award and will be recognized during the Making a Difference Award luncheon March 17.