Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,
On behalf of DSABC and Danbury Public Schools, I am happy to welcome you to the 2013-14 school year! We are looking forward to a productive year with our mentors, schools, and business partners to ensure that the students participating in the DSABC mentoring program can achieve their highest personal and academic success. Research shows that children who experience positive adult relationships in school are more likely to be successful. DSABC mentors provide these types of critical connections to the students they serve by being consistent, positive role models and friends as you will see by our mentors' stories highlighted in this issue


DSABC has some exciting changes/updates to the program for this school year. First, I'd like to share that Danbury Public Schools recently received a grant which has provided for full-time social workers in each of the elementary schools. What this means for DSABC elementary school mentors is that program support will be available 5 days per week. I've had the pleasure to meet each of the liaisons over these first two weeks of school. They are all eager and excited to welcome DSABC mentors back for another school year, indicating that many of the students were already inquiring as to when they would see their mentors!
Next, it is the desire of DSABC and Danbury High School to help make the transition to 9th grade for our students and mentors a smooth one. To that end, DHS Freshman Academy Assistant Principal Dan Donovan is lending his support of 9th grade mentors in several ways. He and I will be hosting a Welcome to DHS Orientation Breakfast on Friday, 9/20/13 at 7:30 a.m. Mentees will be invited to attend as well. At this event, the mentors/mentees will have the opportunity to reconnect while being oriented to the mentoring procedures at DHS.  In addition, the requirements and expectations for students' participation will be outlined. Also, 9th grade mentors will have the Freshman (Level 4) office available for mentors/mentees to meet up at their designated time. Mr. Donovan will also make himself available for one-on-one meetings with mentors to provide guidance as needed.  Additionally, both middle school liaisons conducted exit interviews with 8th grade mentees to gauge student commitment to the program moving forward resulting in 90.9% expressing a desire to continue in 9th grade. As DSABC continues to work towards aligning the goals of the mentor program with those of DHS as well as Henry Abbott Technical High School, we hope our efforts will result in these relationships continuing to grow and flourish through graduation! 
DSABC will once again provide opportunities for mentors to continue learning/training through our workshop series. Tentative topics for the 2013-2014 school year include "Mentor Attunement", "Mentoring Immigrant Students: A Cross Cultural Training", and "Mentor as Advocate". Additionally, we will provide a minimum of one workshop for high school mentors and their mentees on a topic related to post-secondary planning. Also, recognizing the challenge for many mentors to attend the workshops, we have plans to develop webinars which will allow mentors to attend remotely and/or watch at a later time. More info will be forthcoming as this exciting initiative develops. 
Business and Community outreach continues to be a high priority as we strive to increase our mentor roster to better serve those students in need of mentors. Please feel free to contact me if you know of businesses or community groups who might be interested in becoming part of our collaborative. I'm always excited to talk to anyone about mentoring!
As always, many thanks to all who help us continue our mission "Mentoring, Making A Difference." Together we will make the 2013-2014 our most successful year yet!


Mary Arconti Gregory
DSABC Director 

As we begin another year of mentoring, here are a few reminders for both new and returning mentors to help ensure a successful year.



         Call the school before meeting to check on your

         student's attendance.

         Interfere with school policies and procedures.

         Call or email the liaison if you cannot make a


         Be a source of cash, goods or services to the

         student, family or school.

         Meet on a weekly basis.

         Expect dramatic changes quickly.

         Wear your mentor badge to every session.

         Be a reward or punishment.

         Keep details about your student confidential.

         Break your mentee's trust, unless the situation

         is life-threatening.

         Be a good listener and give your mentee your

         full attention.

         Attempt to provide solutions to all the issues

         facing your student.

         Communicate on the mentee's level.

         Try to assume the role of a parent/guardian.

         Be open-minded.

         Be judgmental.

         Be a mentor

         Be a chaperone, teacher, teacher's aide or tutor.

         React well to stressful/frustrating situations.


         Serve as a positive role model.


         Be a friend.




Many thanks to these partners for their generous support.  We couldn't do it without you! 
   Praxair - $20,000        Goodrich - $2,000        G.E. - $5,000

After five great years of service, Marnie Schork recently resigned from the DSABC Board of Directors.  Always an avid mentoring supporter, we are very grateful to Marnie for being such an asset and making significant contributions to the Board. We'll miss you, Marnie!  

Welcome to our new liaisons DJ Jiminez, Jennifer Renkert and Jennifer Looby.



Phone & Email



Abbott Tech


Sally Markiewicz


797-4460 x 4426

Joseph Tripodi


Alternative Center

Dianna Dinardo



Sandra Atanasoff

Doreen Arconti

Broadview Middle

Michael Lynch


Edward Robbs

Pat Morin & Wendy Burke

Danbury High

Kim Trocola


Gary Boccacio


Ellsworth Avenue Elementary

DJ Jiminez


Anna Rocco

Alma Shuart


Jackie Dinardo

203 731-8215

Jackie Dinardo


Great Plain Elementary

Melissa Hettenbach


Keisha Smith

Marie Narowski

Hayestown Elementary

Rose Coladarci


Sybil Brooks

Linda Rosso

King Street Intermediate

Jennifer Renkert


Tina Hislop

Pat Blaiotta

King Street Primary

Jennifer Looby


Tina Hislop

Angela Cefaloni

Mill Ridge Primary

Eva Caputo


Mary Cronin

Colleen Gillotti

Morris Street Elementary

Lauren Gillespie


William Santarsiero

Susan Patton

Park Avenue Elementary

Joyce Burns


David Krafick

Cherie Gardner

Pembroke Elementary

Anne Shields


Edie Thomas

Jean Jackson

Rogers Park Middle

Lisa Basher


Patricia Joaquim

Mary Pritchard

Shelter Rock Elementary

Maria Ortner


Julia Horne

Jeri DiFonzo

South Street Elementary

Kate Schiff

203-797-4787 schifk@danbury.k12.ct.

Margaret Schork

Liz Pereira

Stadley Rough Elementary

Lauren Gillespie


Edward Wachowski

Teresa LaBarbera

Western Academy of International Studies

Mary Levassuer


Helena Nitowski

Wendy Aponte

90.5%of last year's mentors returned this year
In our continuing series we thank Ileana, Farley and Kerry for sharing their stories.

Hello, my name is Ileana Rodriguez and I work for Cartus Corporation as an Accounting Analyst in the Intercultural & Language Solution Team. This is my 6th year mentoring. I remember the day I received the email about mentoring. Having worked with young children in the school system for the past 10 years before my employment with Cartus, I of course knew firsthand how important this program was. I immediately jumped on it! This gave me the opportunity to stay connected and continue making a difference in young lives. I actually became the mentor to a little girl who was in the kindergarten classroom I had worked in prior to my employment with Cartus (this was a coincidence); she was now in the 3rd grade. We instantly hit it off and both looked forward to our weekly meeting. Although she was a little shy, I have to report she is now in the 8th grade and will be attending High School in the Fall and is very well-adjusted. We had our times going through the pre-teen and teen stages. However, I've never thought of not coming back especially as I see her growing into such a beautiful young lady. Our relationship continues to blossom and I can't imagine her not being in my life or I in hers. Mentoring has been such a rewarding experience; I would definitely recommend it to others. I am looking forward to the next four years with this young lady at the High School as she continues to grow like a flower. Thanks again to the Mentoring Program for the opportunity in Making A Difference.


Farley A. Santos:

I work for Savings Bank of Danbury as the Assistant Branch Manager of the Hayestown office and am very thankful to Savings Bank of Danbury for allowing me to take time away from my job every week to be a mentor. I have been mentoring for two years now and I absolutely love it. I initially became a mentor because while attending Danbury Public Schools I noticed that some of my friends had mentors and they really cherished the time they spent with their mentors. It seemed like it truly benefited them. I keep coming back because I've been told by the teachers of the student that I am a mentor for that he is greatly benefiting from having a mentor. Knowing that is reason enough to continue being a mentor. Mentoring gives me great satisfaction by knowing that someone's life is being helped in such a simple way.


Kerry O'Mahony:

UTC Aerospace Systems Recruiting Specialist

I've been mentoring for two years. I was lucky enough to be paired with a quiet, adorable second-grader named Jocelyn who is very shy and insecure. When I'm with her, we generally play games or she shows me the projects that she's been working on at school. She has a soft voice and I bend over to her level and strain to hear what she's saying. She says very little but when she does speak, she tells me about her two sisters and her dog named Caspar. Her older sister gave birth to a little boy in April. This has been a real thrill for Jocelyn who calls him her son.


Sometimes it's difficult to gauge if Jocelyn likes my company or not. She is serious by nature and it's hard to get a laugh out of her. Very often in the middle of a game, she'll ask if we can go outside to play (I mentor her during recess). The kids outside ask me if I'm her mother (we look nothing alike) or if I'm with her because she has problems. I say, no, Jocelyn has no problems that I'm aware of, I'm just her friend. When I made that remark, I looked down to see a little smile spread across Jocelyn's face.


I'd like to think I have made a difference in building up Jocelyn's confidence level. In any case, the kids seem to envy her that she has an adult friend who will race with her across the playground or try to outdo her on crossing the monkey bars (I never succeed).  


What keeps me going back to mentoring?  I'm determined to beat her on the monkey bars!


What is attunement?

In her study Mentor attunement: An approach to Successful School-based Mentoring Relationships. Julia Pryce, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Loyola University, notes that successful mentoring "requires an exceptional level of effort and commitment" and that many youth mentoring relationships fall short. The strongest effects stem from" high quality relational experiences."  Drawing on research from across multiple helping relationships (e.g., therapist/client, student teacher, supervisor/supervisee), as well as analysis of hundreds of interactions between mentors and youth in a school based mentoring program, she points to vital importance of attunement in producing such experiences. 

Click on the link to read the complete article. 

Chronical of Evidenced Based Mentoring

Back-to-school Calendar Watch


September 30 - Mentoring resumes
October 14 - schools closed for Columbus Day
October 15 - early dismissal, NO mentoring 
November 4 - Elementary & Middle schools early dismissal, NO mentoring
November 5 - schools closed for Professional Development
November 6,7,8 - Elementary & Middle schools early dismissal, NO mentoring
November 11 - schools closed for Veterans Day
November 27-29 - Thanksgiving recess
December 17 - early dismissal, NO mentoring
December 23-31 - holiday recess


Mentor Trainings: Please check DSABC website, for dates and times.



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Have a story about mentoring?  Maybe a challenge, a success, or even a question?  We want your input for future newsletters.  Email contributions to
Kathi Barese Heering, Editor

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