More than three years ago, Pat Marhsall's ex-wife was put behind bars. Her four-year sentence for a financial crime meant Marshall would be a single dad to their girls.
"You don't know what you're capable of doing until you have no choice," said Marshall.
As any dad knows, raising girls is a challenge. Marshall needed help. He found it in Julie Schneider, a mentor for Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth.
"She gets help in ways from her mentor that dad can't help, because dad's a guy," joked Marshall.
Schneider has been matched with Marshall's daughter for 2 1/2 years.
"If you have an interest in coaching or you have an interest in teaching, but those aren't in the cards for you right now, this would be a great way to kind of have that kind of supportive relationship with a kid," Schneider said Wednesday.
Schneider and her mentee do simple things during their time together, like getting tea at a shop in downtown Bend. She made it clear -- mentoring is not about changing the girl's life, just being a part of it.
"Going into it thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to fix this kid' -- I mean, it implies there's something wrong with them to begin with, said Schneider. ''There's nothing wrong with most of these kids. They're good kids who just need some extra support."
Nine months pregnant and due any day, Schneider says she would love for Marshall's daughter to be a positive influence in her baby's life, if that's what she wants.
"The relationship is still about her, and I want to preserve that, even though we're going to have this other little person tagging along," said Schneider.
Schneider says mentoring does not take as much time as people might fear. The commitment is just a few hours a week, and it can make a long-lasting difference in the children's lives.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, Central Oregon Partnerships for Youth will offer a training class for mentors. It's free, six hours long and will prepare you to be a volunteer in the program. If you would like more information on the program or how to get involved, just call 541-388-6651.