Spring Newsletter - March 2013
  


Mary Gregory 
Director's Message
 
Dear Friend of DSABC,
 
Welcome to the 2nd issue of the DSABC quarterly newsletter. Our inaugural edition received an  overwhelmingly positive response, with many readers noting how much they enjoyed the information presented. Special thanks to Kathi Barese-Heering for volunteering to serve as the editor of this publication. Kathi has embraced this project with the same high level of enthusiasm and passion she brings to mentoring.  
 
As springtime nears, it is amazing just how quickly the end of the school year is approaching. In May, DSABC will distribute year-end surveys to mentors, students and school liaisons. The feedback provided helps DSABC obtain data to evaluate and improve upon the school-based mentoring program.  Spring is the season of renewal, but also reflection. 
 
While we embark upon this reflective period, it's important to remind ourselves and others of the value of our mentoring work. At its most basic level, mentoring helps because it guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day worries.Think back. Did you know how to study for a test or make plans for college? Do you remember wanting your first car, or looking for a part-time job? Simple things that seem easy, or straightforward to you now may appear to be a complete mystery to a young person. Mentors provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations.


Support for education

  • Mentors help keep students in school.
  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
  • Mentors help with homework and can improve their mentees' academic skills.

Support with day-to-day living

  • Mentors help improve a young person's self-esteem.
  • Mentors provide support for students trying new behaviors.
  • Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
  • About 40% of a teenager's waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision. Mentors provide teens with a valuable place to spend free time.
  • Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills.

Support in the workplace

  • Mentors help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realize them.
  • Mentors can use their personal contacts to help young people meet industry professionals, find internships and locate job possibilities.
  • Mentors introduce young people to professional resources and organizations they may not know about.
  • Mentors can help their mentees learn how to seek and keep jobs.

The number of ways mentoring can help a youth are as varied as the people involved in the program. While the lists and statistics can be impressive, personal stories can be even more impressive. In this issue you'll find a such inspiring stories shared by mentors and school staff. 

 

Thank you for your interest in DSABC....Mentoring Making a Difference!

 
Best Always,
Mary Arconti Gregory
 DSABC Director

Welcome to our New Mentors

Leopoldo Garcia                  Paloma MelendrezWelcome 

Laura Garza Lopez               Jignasha Patel

Banu Gemci-Ozkan              Asif Shaikh

Ava Guastella                       Dianping Xu

Karen Keegans
 

Welcome to our New Partner

RSVP (The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) of Northern Fairfield County  

 

A Well-deserved Retirement 

Congratulations to Lori Fritzer on her upcoming retirement from Cartus. We are extremely grateful to Lori for her many years of dedicated service to DSABC as a very active and productive Board Member and past Chair. We wish Lori much happiness as she pursues new endeavors.

 

Happenings
 
Cartus Mentors raise $340 for DSABC Scholarship Fund!

Cartus Super Bowl bake saleApproximately ten members of the Cartus DSABC mentor team held a Super Bowl bake sale to raise money for the scholarship fund. Mentors do all the baking and then prepare large and small party platters to sell for the big game. They also use the event to inform their friends and colleagues about DSABC and encourage potential new recruits to join. Pictured (left to right) are team members Maria Altieri, Jim Moretti and Elisa Pica.

  
   
Mentor Appreciation
A letter from Joyce Burns,Social Worker/Liaison King Street Primary School
 
Ken Decker, B.I. mentorDuring Mentor Appreciation Month, I want to pay tribute to DSABC mentor Ken Decker. Ken began mentoring a student at KSP during the 2011-2012 year. Every Thursday, Ken brings his lunch and graciously subjects himself to a typical 3rd grade lunch period which, for those not used to it, may seem chaotic and loud. Ken isn't deterred; he eats with Gilbert and gives him his undivided attention, something Gilbert hasn't experienced much in his young life. After lunch, they head to the gym to play basketball and Gilbert is in his glory!
Thursdays are different for Gilbert; he gets off the bus in a good mood and is eager to tell anyone and everyone who will listen, that his mentor is coming to see him today. It is a joy to watch Gilbert's whole face light up when we talk about Ken.
Ken provides a positive role model for Gilbert and his dedication shows Gilbert that he will be there for him. This is Gilbert's first experience having a caring, consistent male role model in his life. This is the beginning of learning to trust, which is necessary for Gilbert to grow into an educated, contributing, fulfilled adult.
Thank you Ken Decker for being a DSABC mentor and for making a difference in Gilbert's life. 
 
Ken works at Boehringer-Ingelheim
Barbara Stauder joins CT Mentoring Hall of Fame
  

Congratulations to mentor and DSABC Board Chair, Barbara Stauder of Praxair on her selection to be inducted into the Connecticut Mentoring Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Governors Prevention Partnership. Barbara will be honored at the Corporate Honor Roll Breakfast being held at the Sheraton Rocky Hill on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. This honor is presented to individuals who have:

 

  • advocated successfully within a business/corporation or network for mentoring resources including funding and/or substantial involvement in mentoring within a local mentoring organization or organizations.
  • been responsible for innovation within their mentoring program, thus furthering mentoring as a youth strategy in their community, or statewide.
  • ensured sustainability for their corporate or business mentoring initiative by developing a funding stream to support local mentoring programs, a product or innovative approach to mentoring that fills a gap.

Additionally, individuals nominated are role models for other mentors within the corporation or network and/or statewide and:

  • consistently advocate for mentoring in all of their circles of influence; they have both extraordinary professional and personal commitment to mentoring.
  • are or have been a youth mentor for a significant period of time.

 Thank you, Barbara, for your outstanding dedication and commitment!

Mentoring Myth-buster
Myth:  I am only successful if my mentee stays in the program through high school graduation.
Fact:  A successful "graduation" from the mentor program can happen any time.
 
After five years together, I met my mentee for the last time today. It went well. She said again she just didn't think she needs a mentor any more - she said - it's not you - it's me. We talked for a while about our pets then I brought up some of the various good times we had in the past. We laughed at the memories - and I told her how proud I was to be her Mentor and have her as my first Mentee. She said you'll probably find someone nicer than me - I said - no way. I told her I was proud of how she has grown and her accomplishments, her creativity and love of learning. I told her she will be very successful in anything she will do. We parted with smiles and a hug.
 
 
When I accepted a job out of town, I felt awful about having to leave the program and my 5th-grade mentee.  We'd been together for three years.  While I assured her that she would get a great new mentor, she decided that she did not want one.  She even wrote a lengthy letter to her teacher outlining the reasons why she felt she no longer needed a mentor.  For years I felt guilty about "abandoning" her and wondered how things had turned out, imagining that I'd done terrible, irreparable harm to her young life.  Several years later I got my answer when I saw her picture on the front page of the News-Times.  She was one of the top ten DHS graduates and had been accepted to NYU.

Save the Date!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - Corporate Honor Roll Breakfast sponsored by Governors Prevention Partnership
  
Thursday, May 16, 2013 - DSABC Annual Scholarship and Mentor Awards Breakfast, Amber Room, 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Got news?  Share it!
Have a story about mentoring?  Maybe a challenge, a success, or even a question?  We want your input for future newsletters.  Email contributions to kbheering@sbcglobal.net
  
Kathi Barese Heering, Editor
 
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