Last week we celebrated mentoring at our annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast. Read a little bit about the 2016 nominees! Quentin Coulter was named the Outstanding Rookie and Terra Zahn was named the Outstanding Mentor.
Working dads with kids in elementary school are probably the least represented demographic among mentors. Quentin has put his busy schedule aside for one hour a week to make a big difference to a John Harris Elementary student. His student has special needs that cause him to often sit on the sidelines during recess. Having Quentin visit has given this child a little something extra to look forward to each week.
Chandra is described as being consistent, patient and dedicated to her mentee’s success. She is a trained reading specialist who wanted to bring her knowledge to offer a unique opportunity to a child at Robert Frost needing it the most. Chandra has supported her student academically and also has brought a lot of fun in the way of crafts and games that help keep her student engaged in school.
The counselor at Susan B. Anthony says whenever Rachael is in the building you can see how much she enjoys being a mentor. It clearly shows on the face of her mentee. Rachael has a caring and generous heart and has helped out with school supplies to make sure that everyone had what they needed to feel included. Her mentee wants everyone to know that Rachael is “the coolest mentor ever.”
Nathan has caught the attention of staff at Memorial Middle School. They say they need more mentors like him. He cares so much about his mentee and has been with him for several years. His mentee says, “He has always been there for me. He made me less shy and he has always been the one to get me through the tough times.”
When the counselor at John Harris said that she had a new second grader whose mother recently passed away, we knew the Becka could help make this student happy. She has provided her student with attention, love and most importantly – FUN each week. Her mentee says Becka brings great crafts and carries a mermaid card game in her purse “just in case.” She added, “I look forward to Thursday every day, and on Friday I can’t wait until next week!”
Adam makes mentoring a priority and no matter what, will be there for his student each week. People who encounter them can tell that Adam and his student genuinely enjoy spending time together. His mentee says, “He always cares about how my day is going and can tell when I am happy or sad. I can trust him with anything because I know he cares.”
Kim has mentored for eight years, most often with high school students. She started meeting with a student at Memorial this year and they became fast friends. Although her mentee is shy, when she meets with Kim she talks to her like they have known each other forever. Kim brings a fun and caring attitude with her to mentor each week.
Sharon started mentoring ten years ago. Her first match did not go as planned, but Sharon remained committed to the program and was matched with another student. She is still meeting with the student, who is not a sophomore at Roosevelt, today! The two are enrolled in the LSS USuceed program. She is very dedicated to her mentee and has a great relationship with her. Sharon offers practical advice and endless encouragement to her mentee.
Every Monday, a student at Axtell Park looks forward to his visit with “Mentor Mike.” As with many students in the programs at Axtell, building relationships can take a very long time as their trust is hard to earn. Mike has developed a relationship with his mentee over the past two years. He helps in ways that all of his female teachers and counselors cannot. His mentee wrote, “I can really open up when you are around. I feel great that you are my mentor. People don’t take me the way you do…and thanks for letting me win all of those card games.”
John’s influence on TWO George McGovern students is described as life changing. He brings a great attitude each week and puts a smile on everyone’s face. One of his students said, “John is selfless, he puts others before himself. He listens to me and makes me feel important.” His other mentee said, “When I’m sad he helps me to share what I’m thinking and helps me to smile. He is helpful, funny and thoughtful.”
Debbie has mentored for six years, and is currently with a student at Hayward. She has made mentoring a priority and has never wavered from her commitment. Debbie is always exploring new ways to help her mentee. Her student says, “Debbie helped me understand when I lost my Mom that I could be confident…I can always talk with her about how I feel.”
Heather has met with a young man at RF Pettigrew for the past four years. She has truly been a life changer for this student by being the most consistent and structured person he knows. She teaches him right from wrong in a caring way and provides support and accountability. Her student sees her as being “cool and nice,” but the school staff knows that she exemplifies the importance of the mentor program.
Paul’s mentee at Susan B. Anthony said, “I really want others to know that Paul picks people up. When people are down he picks them up and makes them feel better. He always does the best he can.” The school counselor has seen his student make many positive changes that can be attributed to Paul’s time and consistent encouragement. He is very important to his mentee and they both value their time together.
Lois is a motivated, energetic and enthusiastic mentor for her student. She promotes mentoring throughout the Garretson community to get others involved. She is so caring, and that has spilled into her mentee’s family. Her student’s mother was in the hospital this fall. Lois bought fleece and taught her student how to make a blanket. They worked hard and her student was able to give the blanket to her mom for Christmas! Lois “mentors with her whole heart.”
The highlight of school for one Oscar Howe student is Terra! Her student is on an incentive plan – meaning if she makes good choices throughout the week, she can get a reward. She chose more time with her mentor! In addition to meeting weekly with her student, Terra takes time for a brief phone call on Friday afternoons. Her mentee says, “She is so much fun. We always play games and do stuff together.”