Outstanding Mentors 2015

So many of our mentors have made a difference to one child. They are all outstanding in the eyes of that child. School counselors get to see mentors and students interact, and every so often, they witness mentors with an extra special commitment…a touching moment…and whose sheer presence absolutely makes that student light up. Please take a moment to learn a little more about the 2015 Outstanding Mentor Nominees.Ila Ahrendt started mentoring in 2001. For the past six years, she has mentored at RF Pettigrew Elementary. Her mentee was particularly shy – which Ila recognized right away. By showing perseverance and care, her mentee has, according to Pettigrew staff, “come out of her shell…I think Ila is huge reason why…” Her mentee says that Ila “makes her happy.”

Jeremy Anderson is “the definition of loyalty” to the student he mentors. His mentee has moved around often, both in and out of Sioux Falls. Many mentors may have taken their student moving as a way to give up on that child or give up mentoring all together. Jeremy has chosen to show commitment that will hopefully show his student that not everyone will let him down.

Jonna Brost’s mentee says, “Jonna is more than a mentor, she is my friend.” Jonna mentored throughout her four years at Augustana, took a little time off after graduation and then returned to the program in 2011 has mentored her current student since then. Jonna is a kind, thoughtful, reliable and creative mentor!

Corey Beacom has been the most stable thing in his mentee’s life for the last two years. His mentee actually wrote the nomination, and said, “Corey helps me out with my problems at school, home and with friends…He is a good listener and I wish that he could come more than once a week because it is definitely the best part of my week…He is the best.”

Nathan Bosch is the sort of guy that anyone would want their son to spend time with! He has mentored for eight years, the last four of which have been with the same student. He promotes doing well in school and having goals for the future, as well as having hobbies that are fun and fulfilling. His mentee’s mother is amazed at the commitment Nathan has made to her son.

Jerene Mortenson was nominated by an entire class of students! Not only does she mentor one student consistently each week, but she meets with students who are waiting for a mentor in a different class. She has become “their” mentor. Students say, “she taught me something new; she makes me feel good; she listens carefully when I’m talking; she’s always smiley.” Those are all amazing, but her most valuable attributes is that she lets the students teach her.

What makes Beth O’Toole so special as a mentor is that she never gives up on her mentee. She has changed her mentee’s life by being a consistent and positive presence. When she misses a week due to travel, Beth makes up for it by emailing her mentee pictures, stories about her trip and takes time to ask questions about how things are going in his life. In addition to inspiring her mentee, Beth encourages countless numbers of USF students to get involved with mentoring each year.

Zach Sommerlot’s nomination continues the theme of being dependable. The counselor says that she can count on him to come through and make any of his mentee’s feel special and appreciated. He has been mentoring for nearly 4 years and through the time, his family and work commitments have grown. Despite changes in his personal and professional life, Zach still understands how important mentoring is. His mentee says, “He really cares about me…he tells me he’s there for me if I need him.”

Bob and Jan Woerman are a husband and wife due who love Laura B. Anderson Elementary and mentoring! Both Bob and Jan mentor a fifth grade student every year. They take time to get to know them and make the feel special. Bob’s mentee could not believe that he brought in a special lunch to celebrate the students half birthday. He had never had anyone celebrate that with him before. Bob and Jan go above and beyond to make sure their student know that they are cared about.

All mentors will be celebrated at the Annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday, April 16. If you are lucky to have any of the people mentioned above in your life – or any mentor for that matter – take a moment to tell them thank you for making a difference in the life of a child!

Post by Michelle Madsen

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