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Everyday Hero: Local engineer surprised with award for being an outstanding mentor

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 18:44:17-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - We're getting ready for our surprise, huddled up in the Portsmouth offices of The Up Center, waiting for one of their outstanding mentors. Jessica Simmons is the manager of Team Up, which coordinates the mentoring program.

"If we ask Ansh to do anything, he never says no. So, he's always willing to rise to the occasion, and he's making such an impact with his mentee," she said.

Soon, we get word Ansh Mathur is here. Once the door opens, there are cheers to his arrival. He's pleasantly surprised and wondering what's going on.

"I am a little [surprised], a little. What did I do this time?" Ansh says with a laugh.

We told Ansh we heard about his outstanding mentoring relationship with a local teenager name Chris.

"We go to the beach; we decided to take runs; we race each other. I play ball with him for a little bit," he said.

The two have developed quite the bond hanging out, and Ansh, who's an engineer, has also had a big impact on the teen's academics, especially in math.

"But he's a bright kid, and I picked that up in our interactions. So, we kinda sat down; it was a Starbucks, and I got him a nice, fruitiest drink, and we just worked through his algebra homework, and it was like, two or three sessions with him with him, and he was able to pick things up, and he was able to get an A-," Ansh explained.

The Up Center could use more mentors like Ansh. They say that they have a waiting list of 100 kids looking for mentors and that the overwhelming need is for male mentors.

Rebecca Miller is the Team Up Match Support Specialist.

"It's tough. There's a major need for this program in the community, and because we serve all of South Hampton Roads - that covers Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Norfolk and Virginia Beach - so all those cities, we have kids in need," Rebecca said.

Ansh says he also benefits and would encourage others to become a mentor.

"To that, I will say oftentimes we are trying to find meaning in our life, trying to feel happy, trying to feel good. But it's not myopic hedonism or it's not getting this new car. I'm going to feel perfectly fine - I'm starting this new job, I'm going to feel fine. True meaning is to be found in responsibility," he said.

The responsibility of making a difference in people's lives - which is what Ansh is doing.

For those reasons, News 3 presented Ansh with a News Everyday Hero award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Ansh was surprised and delighted.

"Wow! Thank you so much! Whoa! Very cool; thank you so much. I'm sure Chris and I will put this to good use!" he exclaimed.

If you would like more information on mentoring with The Up Center or support any of their upcoming events, click here.

To nominate someone for an Everyday Hero Award, click here.