Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

As another school year comes to a close, I find that this is a natural time of reflection for many mentors. If mentors have been in a match for several months or years, those relationships  have evolved.  Hopefully these evolutions have moved in a positive directions, but recognizing that as is the nature with most relationships, they likely had series of ups and downs, trials and tribulations.  While there is no magic formula or set of prescribed actions to guarantee positive outcomes in a mentoring relationship, research shows that success lies within the  consistency of support from the mentor.

Consistency, although progress may be slow, will eventually be more beneficial than being hasty or careless just to get done. DSABC mentors embody the spirit of this concept..even when  mentors may struggle to understand their role in their mentee's life or question if they are making a difference...somehow continuing to show up becomes paramount to any immediate outcome or gratification they may initially seek. The students participating in the DSABC mentor program are referred a variety of reasons, truly making each relationship unique.  But all participating students benefit from the consistent support, friendship and guidance only a mentor can provide. The eight 2014 DSABC Scholarship recipients certainly are evidence of this with an average number of years they've been with their mentors being 6.4 years!  (See below for highlights from 2014 Annual Scholarship and Awards Breakfast.) 

I 'd like to take this opportunity to applaud each and every one of our mentors for showing up regardless if you've shown up 10 years, 2 years, or 6 months! Each hour you've spent with your mentee has truly mattered. The only skill  needed to be a great mentor is to simply show up to make a child's day brighter! To quote Maya Angelou,"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."-

The students of the DSABC program say that their mentors make them feel:

  • Happy
  • Relaxed
  •  Fun
  •  Supported,  
  • Successful,  
  • Special
  • Prepared
  •  Confident
  • Responsible
  •   Loved

Wishing you all a relaxing and enjoyable summer. I look forward to reconnecting at the start of the 2014-15 school year!  

Mary Arconti Gregory
 DSABC Director

DSABC Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast

On May 15, eight graduating seniors were awarded scholarships and eighteen mentors received Hall Of Fame Awards.  We also recognized exiting Board Member Rusty Beers for his many years of leadership and dedicted service.
Mentor Hall of Fame 

20 years 

10 years

5 years

David Cook

Brian Applebee 

Susan Edelstein

Irene Edmondson

William Austin 

Marilyn Lombardo

Irene Jeffress

Raymond Bergmann 

Keshar Nath

15 years

Mike James 

Daniell O'Rourke

Rita Harrison

Ed Skvorc 

Michelina Palanzo

Jim Moretti

Art Summo 

Crystal Rumph

Barbara Stauder



Scholarship Recipients

Elena Patton is like a mother, but mostly a truly good friend that has been with me for years. I told her she influenced me to be successful each and every day. I am thankful that my teacher back in Shelter Rock Elementary School signed me up with Elena. She's stayed by my side through all the good and bad I've experienced in the eight years I've had her. 

 - Jerucha Gutierrez





College plans


Yrs together

Ammie Bordoy



Vivian Taylor


Sarah Carboni


Tara Walitynski


Johnathan Gonzalez



Alex Gankos


Jerucha Gutierrez


 study nursing

Elena Patton


Joshua Haber



Jeffrey Poklemba


Badal Rana


 Sacred Heart

Kevin Kearns


Cory Sharp



Mike James


Kavya Suresh



Kathi Barese Heering



One Mentor's Story

Cory, DSABC and Me - by Mike James


What I would like to do in the next 5 minutes is describe for you the ideal mentorship. I would like to give you a model to help you take all your interpersonal relationships to the next level. That's what I'd like to do. But the fact of the matter is that the story of Cory and me is not spectacular. Except for its duration, it is not particularly noteworthy. One might even say it is mundane. It is difficult to describe Cory and me because our relationship is abstract. To help frame a picture, I will use some familiar similes and metaphors.


We met when Cory was in 3rd grade. Cory walks into the school counselor's office and we meet for the first time. I thought he was awfully small. He probably thought I was awfully tall. Thankfully, I don't think he noticed my knees shaking. We would meet in her office, the gym, or any vacant room we could find. Fortunately, Cory did not need tutoring from me. His reading speed and comprehension was at least equal to mine. So, we were just to hang out. He consistently beat me at checkers and chess. Very soon I nixed board games. Vocalization is not high on our list of things we need to do. Fact is, if the school nurse had wandered into our space, she might have wanted to take a pulse. We are like an old pair of shoes. Comfortable in each others' presence. Or like an old married couple. No words spoken. Sitting in silence. Not awkward, but at ease just sharing the oxygen in the room.


We gravitated to the outdoors. Found a picnic table, then the playground. Location didn't matter. Hiking, and fishing and cookouts became our thing. At first I dragged him up the trail along Lake Zoar. Later, he, me. Now we just walk side-by-side.


Cory had had some unfortunate life circumstances. Batted from pillar to post, he was a young graduate of the school of hard knocks. He had learned to bob, weave and roll with the punches. He never spoke a word about that. He never complained or criticized anyone.


One day, after a not uncommon long silence, and in a rare revelation, Cory tossed out that he was being bullied. He could not know the fury I felt. At last, my opportunity to intervene! To "help". But, in typical fashion, he let me know that he would handle it. Turns out, it had happened before, and he knew what to do. After a week, it was still a problem. By week 2, it was no more


Along came the Sharps - Laurie Joy and Joey. Humangels. Half human, half angel. They already had 2 teenaged boys, but they were to adopt Cory. "Adoption" does not do justice to what happened. Cory was re-born into the family, a 5 foot 6 bouncing baby boy - fully at the table with a Mom, a Dad, and 2 brothers. "Why did you adopt a boy?" I asked Joey one day. "We prayed about it. And, well, we just know how to raise boys." he said. Amazing.

A few weeks before all the legal stuff, Laurie Joy and I were observing Cory through the school library window. "Isn't he beautiful!" she said to me. I had to do a double-take.


His birth into the Sharp family was 3 years ago. One day after a prolonged silence, I said to Cory, "You know, you don't need me." Long silence.

"I know", he said.

We never spoke on that subject again.


"How long do you suppose we will be together?" I asked him one day. Long silence.

"I want to dance at your wedding" I said.

"I will cry at your funeral", he smiled.

Laurie Joy was right. He IS beautiful.


How do I describe Cory and me? Cory and I are a common thread in a huge fabric we call a village. We are two ships passing in the night.


How do I describe Cory and me? Well,...we just are. 


School Social Worker Rose Coladarci shared this about Hayestown Elementary mentors


I want to thank you for all you have done for our students this year.  I am not sure if you were able to see the improvements your child has made but I will point out some of what I have seen.


One child's attendance is perfect on Wednesdays as that is the day the mentor comes.


Another child, who doesn't say much, will ask every Friday if his mentor is coming and was the one who reminded me of the field trip and even came and showed me everything that he received that day.


Another child wants her mentor to be her "mother" because she enjoys the special time they spend together.


Another child will stop me in the hall all the time asking if I heard from her mentor because she wants to see her.


So I hope you know how much you are all appreciated.  Thanks again.


GPP 2014-4   

The Governors Prevention Partnership recognized DSABC partner companies Cartus and Praxair, along with Branson, Belimo, GE, Pitney Bowes, Savings Bank of Danbury, and Newtown Savings Bank, as leading businesses within Connecticut supporting mentoring programs. Congratulations on their awards and our deepest appreciation for their continued support and leadership.


Pictured to the right; Sanaa Almarayati from Praxair and Mary Gregory.  Below and to the right are Anne Sorrells and Sarah Bollert, Cartus and Sanaa Almarayati, Praxair.

   GPP 2014-1 GPP 2014-5

Mentor Trainings

Click here to watch latest DSABC webinar "Stages of A Mentoring Relationship and How to Overcome Common Pitfalls"


DSABC webinars are archived on the website,, for viewing anytime. 






Back-to-school Calendar Watch

August 25 - Danbury Public Schools back in session

September 13 - DSABC mentor assignments confirmed

September 16-28 - Mentoring resumes



  • Danbury High School Freshman Mentor/Mentee Orientation Breakfast- Late September
  • Business Liaison Meeting-Mid-September 
  • School Liaison Meeting -October 



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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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