Each year, LSS Mentoring Services accepts nominations for Outstanding Mentors. The following are the nominees for the 2014 Citi Outstanding Mentor Award, to be presented on April 16 at our annual appreciation breakfast. These people are just some of our 1,161 Everyday Heroes.
Ardis Fischer, Lennox Elementary
Ardis is very caring, helpful and sweet. She helps her mentee with her homework and they just hang out. Her mentee strugglse with school, and Ardis is there to patiently guide her and make learning fun. Her mentees mom says that Ardis is like family to her daughter and the entire family thinks the world of Ardis.
Thomas Gannon, Oscar Howe
Every week that Tom mentors, he comes with a smile on his face and is eager to spend time with his energetic mentee. Tom goes on an extended vacation each winter, and sends regular postcards and emails to his mentee. His mentee is always so excited to see a letter and anxious to share stories over email. When his student was asked about having Tom mentor him in middle school, he said, “he can do that?! I definitely want him to come!”
Dana Hagen, Roosevelt
Dana is the second person to mentor the same student through LSS from Kindergarten through graduation (his mentee is a junior, but they do not intend to stop next year!). Dana has shown his mentee unwavering loyalty, dedication and support. They share a genuine connection. Their mentoring relationship has grown into a deep friendship that will last a lifetime.
Barb Iverson, Patrick Henry
Barb is someone who loves mentoring! She works with two students and is truly generous. She made blankets with her mentees for them to give to their families. There is no doubt that her mentees appreciate her, and use phrases like the “nicest person in the world” and “sweetest person” to describe her.
Greg Jasmer, RF Pettigrew
Greg has mentored the same student for six years! His student is soft spoken and unsure at times, but Pettigrew staff see him light up when Greg is around. The influence does not stop at school. His mentees mom says, “Greg is an all around awesome guy, and I am so glad my son got matched with him.” His mentee says he enjoys playing basketball with Greg and recently shared his mentoring story with his classmates.
Daphene Melvin, Hayward
Daphene represents what mentoring is all about: she is consistent, committed, has built a solid relationship with her mentee. She has a good balance of fun and helping and has stayed with her mentee for an extended length of time. Her mentee says, “She has helped me solve problems and has helped me with projects. I very much look forward to seeing her … it’s a highlight of my week!”
Gretchen Miller, Terry Redlin
When Gretchen was offered a new job, she made sure she would still be able to mentor each week before accepting. That is how serious she is about mentoring, but together, her and her mentee have a lot of fun! Her mentee says, “I live with my dad so it is good to have a girl to talk to. She brings birthday and Christmas presents, but best of all she brings herself. Without her, school would be boring!”
Marley Prunty-Lara, Cleveland
Marley has uncommon enthusiasm and real interest in her mentee. The staff at Cleveland believes that her mentee has a different future because of Marley’s support and unconditional regard. She is always her mentee’s biggest advocate and wants to make sure she is accessing various opportunities in the school and community.
Chuck Schroeder, Memorial and Whittier
Chuck’s patience and kindness are immeasurable when working with situations that might scare off the average mentor. Chuck mentors two eighth grade boys, and he pours his heart into each relationship. He helps keep their grades up, maintain good behavior and keep up hope for their future. Both of his mentees know that no matter what, Chuck will be there for them.
Patty Sisson, Garfield
Patty has worked so hard to develop a healthy and positive relationship with her student. She has been patient and kind. She mentors a student that is very quiet. This student has gone from not speaking at all to now saying a few more words! Her mentee says, “Patty is nice to me. I like to play games with her.” The dedication and passion that Patty brings to mentoring each week have helped this student come out of her shell and be a more caring person.
Jon Sogn, Horace Mann
Jon is there to support his mentee and help him grow. He celebrates all of the successes that his mentee achieves, no matter how big or small. His mentee had severe behavior issues at school this fall and was put on a social skills program. Jon has been an instrumental part of his mentees success, and his mentee has not had any office referrals this semester! When asked why he likes Jon, his mentee said, “I use to do bad stuff and when I got a mentor I stopped being bad because I wanted to spend 40 minutes a week with my mentor. Jon cares about me and I can trust him.”
Duane Veersteegh, Axtell Park
Duane is a very consistent mentor at Axtell Park. Throughout the years, Duane has gone above and beyond what a mentor usually does. He has assisted in coordinating basketball shoot-out competitions for mentors and their students. He has also worked alongside his mentee to create scavenger hunts for other mentor/mentee teams to participate in. He has really creative ideas that can be done within a school building and get all of the Axtell matches involved. His current mentee describes Duane as a “fantastic friend.”