When things come together…

It’s National Volunteer Week and at LSS, we celebrated big! Over 200 volunteer mentors came together on Wednesday morning at The District for us to share our sincere thanks and appreciation for the time they give to local students each week. We always have an Outstanding Mentor Award that we present at this event. This year, the presentation came together in such a cool way that we needed to share it!

First, let’s go back two years to this same event. We put a challenge out to mentors who were at the breakfast in 2014 to give LSS a few names of potential volunteers. We emailed and called the dozens of names that were given and had some success with those folks signing up to mentor themselves. One mentor who was there gave the name of his colleague Terra Zahn and she agreed to volunteer. She was assigned a student at Oscar Howe and here is what has happened since…

Terra’s  willingness to go above and beyond and positive attitude make her a great mentor. She consistently visits with her mentee each week. Her student has stated multiple times that her mentor is her favorite thing about school. A staff member at the school recently said she wished she could have lunch with Terra and her student because “they are always laughing and having fun.” And most importantly, her student says, “She is so much fun. We always play games and do stuff together. She listens to me and cares about me and I can always count on her.”

According to the counselor at Oscar Howe, this student sometimes makes poor choices. To help keep her on track, the school has started an incentive plan. If she reaches her goals related to classroom behavior, she gets a reward. Many students throughout the district have something similar and their rewards are varied. When asked what incentive she would like, Terra’s student said the best thing would be more time with her mentor. The counselor asked Terra is this was possible and she is so committed to making sure her student is the best that she can be, that Terra made it work. So, if this student makes good choices throughout the week, she gets a special five minute phone call with her mentor on Friday afternoons.

We are so pleased when stories like this come together. Someone recruited just the right volunteer and they were matched with just the right student and the result has made an impact on both lives. Terra is just one of the many pretty awesome mentors at LSS! Tune into our posts later this month to learn more about a few other.

Congratulations to Terra and, as we close National Volunteer Week 2016 thanks to everyone who gives their time!

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Back: Greg Jasmer presented Terra Zahn (at podium) with the 2016 Outstanding Mentor Award as LSS President & CEO Betty Oldenkamp looks on.

Post by Michelle Madsen

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