Monday, June 4th, was the third annual Vermont Mentoring Symposium. This year’s Symposium featured workshops directed towards post-secondary education/opportunities, understanding/addressing ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), and improving program practices, and a keynote address by David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, The National Mentoring Partnership.

The morning began with remarks from Ken Schatz, Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families, and Al Gobeille, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. Gobeille’s remarks reflected on his own personal life experiences, and the undeniable impact that extra adults outside of his family had on his going on to become a successful adult. He noted as well that the best job he ever had was coaching football, and getting to see a group of young boys grow into young men over the years. These young men brought to the field with them everything that was going on in their lives, especially at home. Gobeille expressed how important it was to him to try and be that extra person in those young men’s lives. Many of those young men went on to work for him down the road. His words reinforced a particularly important theme in mentoring and the world of health professionals today: kids absorb the stress of adverse experiences in their households and communities, and it can have an immense impact of what their adult lives look like (physically and mentally) if it is not acknowledged and addressed.

We are incredibly grateful that David Shapiro came up to Vermont to be with us Monday morning and be our keynote speaker. Shapiro discussed MENTOR, the current scale of the mentoring movement and how the mentoring movement has evolved, as well as the need for mentoring and the impact that it has. “The work MENTOR does is only possible because of our affiliates, and the work they are doing in their states,” Shapiro said. He also put meaning back into the one-in-three statistic that we so frequently find ourselves telling people. One in three young people don’t have any adults in their lives, beyond their immediate family, that they can rely on or turn to for support. That is an incredibly isolated and lonely place to be as a child or young adult. The need for mentoring is tremendously important, and the work that mentoring programs are doing to help connect youth to caring adult mentors is priceless when it comes to the impact it can have on a young person’s life. 

The rest of the morning included the first workshop session, which included three workshop options: “Neurodiversity in Mentoring,” “Post-Secondary Opportunities Besides College,” and “Fundraising: You Can Do It!” “Neurodiversity in Mentoring” was led by Brad Smith, executive director of the Vermont Learning-Support Initiative, and Corey Richardson, an adjunct faculty member at both UVM and Champlain College. This workshop explained neurodiversity, and focused on creating more awareness and understanding of the neurodiverse community and how to bring that understanding into mentoring programs. “Post-Secondary Opportunities Besides College” was led by Liz Schlegel, executive director of The Alchemist Foundation, and explored the post-secondary opportunities for youth in Vermont other than four-year college. “Fundraising: You Can Do It!” was led by Joyce Cellars, associate of CPG Enterprises, and focused on helping individuals feel comfortable with and confident in fundraising for their programs.

The afternoon portion of the day included a second workshop session, followed by two group discussions that attendees could choose between. The second workshop session included “College Access and Support”, “Adverse Childhood Experiences”, and “How to Make Your Mentoring Program Successful.” “College Access and Support” was led by Liam Danaher, student engagement coordinator at Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC), and explored strategies for how to best support mentees who wish to pursue college, and helping them be successful once enrolled. “Adverse Childhood Experiences” was led by Kathleen Hentcy, mental health & health care integration director of the Department of Mental Health. This workshop included a viewing of the film Resilience, and a panel discussion with Chris Hultquist (The Mentor Connector), Tricia Long (Lamoille Restorative Justice Center), and a representative from the Department for Children and Families. “How to Make Your Mentoring Program Successful” was led by Bobbi Jo Stellato, program director of The Mentor Connector, and included helping those who were newer program staff figure out where to focus their efforts so that their program will be successful.

The larger group facilitated discussions included “Life After High School,” facilitated by Chad Butt, Mobius’ executive director, and “ACEs: What Do We Do Now,” facilitated by Kreig Pinkham, director of the Washington County Youth Service Bureau. These discussions gave those in attendance an opportunity to dive deeper into the two tracks that the Symposium focused on: post-secondary opportunities, and ACEs.

The day concluded with Chad giving the “State of Mentoring in Vermont” address, providing useful data on the numbers and types of programs, while also highlighting current needs and gaps.

Thank you to everyone who attended, our dedicated and knowledgeable presenters, David Shapiro, Ken Schatz, Al Gobeille, and our sponsors, for making this day possible.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont members gathered in front of ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

 

 

On Thursday March 22, more than 200 mentors, mentees, and program coordinators from mentoring programs across Chittenden,Grand Isle, Franklin, and Addison counties attended the 2018 ECHO Community Science Night, hosted by ECHO, LeahyCenter for Lake Champlain.

A mentor pair exploring “Shaping Watersheds” station

ECHO is Burlington’s Lake Aquarium and Science Center, located right on the waterfront of Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington, VT. Once a year, ECHO closes to the general public at its normal time, and then promptly welcomes in youth and their mentors for an evening of exploration and discovery. This annual event provides mentor pairs from northwest Vermont with the opportunity to explore each of the exhibits, engage in activities such as a scavenger hunt, spend quality time with one another, and have the chance to meet other mentor pairs from other mentoring programs.

Spectrum Mentoring Program group photo in “My Sky” exhibit

“It was great to see both mentors and mentees expressing their curiosity about ECHO’s different exhibits. I walked around to check in with each of our pairs and caught them eating, learning, laughing and having fun. It was also neat to see this within the larger context of mentoring, seeing two hundred people together at ECHO that otherwise wouldn’t have connected without their mentoring programs. And there was food! I just hope all of our pairs enjoyed the event as much as I did!” – Stephanie Ball, Spectrum Mentoring Program.

ECHO’s E-Team played a huge role in the overall success of this event. The E- Team, a group of freshmen and sophomore High School students from across Vermont, are celebrating their 11th year anniversary. They are guided by Noella Krakowski, Education Programs Coordinator at ECHO. Community Science Night featured the E-Team guiding mentors and mentees through the building with a designed scavenger hunt. They also invited guests to explore, create, and launch their own paper airplanes; showcased the Champlain Sea Tank; and challenged mentors and mentees to design a scribble bot to create their own art.

One of the E-Team members leading hands-on demonstration with mentor pair

“The Community Science Night is the time for the E-team to take over the museum,” said Krakowski. “The E-Team gets to design the museum experience for the mentor-mentee pairs. It becomes their opportunity to put the skills they have been developing into practice. It is always great to see their progression through the year.”

The featured exhibit this year was “My Sky,” an exhibit made in collaboration with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) about the universe, that invites children and families to explore the Sun, the Moon, and the stars together. There is a skate park that allows kids to explore the Sun; a Moon Dome that allows kids and families to experience the patterns of the Moon; a child’s room that lets you observe the Moon and the stars; and a backyard camp-set that lets visitors observe the Moon, the stars, and the Sun together.

King Street Center members gathered in front of ECHO exhibit

This event continues to be an exceptional opportunity for mentor pairs to learn about and discover the natural world together. “Over the past five years of our mentoring relationship, ECHO Lake and Aquarium Center has provided so many quality adventures for us!” said Winooski resident Erin Barnaby, a mentor through the King Street Center. “A few examples include exploring turtle habitats with when my mentee was eight years old, to making paper airplanes together when she was ten years old, to now at age 13, learning about the female scientists that have built components of the exhibitions. Each experience we have at ECHO has been an opportunity to learn about our local environment, community and one another.”

This year, mentor pairs from 10 different mentoring programs came out to Community Science Night. Programs represented include: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont, Crossroads: Where Cultures Meet, Essex FriendCHIPS, Grand Isle County Mentoring, King Street Center’s Junior Senior Buddies, Milton Mentors!, Spectrum Mentoring Program, Starksboro Mentoring Program, The DREAM Program, and Watershed Mentoring.

The ECHO Community Science Night is made possible by ECHO’s Open Door program. The Open Door program works to make access to ECHO’s services and resources affordable to all members of the community. It is through this program that mentor pairs can visit ECHO at a discounted rate at any time by using their Mobius Mentor Discount Card.

UVM Pi Beta Phi volunteers handing out pizza to everyone. Attendees were treated to a free dinner, donated by Dominos Pizza

We want to extend a huge thank you to ECHO for hosting, the E-Team for leading demonstrations and ensuring the success of this event, Dominos for donating pizza, Rhino Foods for donating cookies, and the UVM Pi Beta Phi volunteers who served food to the participants.

To view photos from the event, check out our Facebook album here

 

Each January, during National Mentoring Month, Mobius hosts an event that convenes mentors, mentees, mentoring program staff, legislators, and mentoring supporters across Vermont to honor volunteer mentors for their service and raise awareness of the importance of mentoring. This year’s Mentoring Celebration was held January 31, acting as a lovely wrap-up to National Mentoring Month 2018.

The morning portion of the event began at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier, with Eric Hoekstra of Redstone (our Lead Statehouse Event sponsor for the fourth straight year) introducing Governor Phil Scott. The Governor talked about his experience with his mentors, before signing an official proclamation marking January as Mentoring Month in Vermont. After speaking, he walked around the room to meet youth mentees who shared why having a mentor has made a difference to them.

The morning also featured (for the third straight year) Comcast’s presentation of the Vermont Mentor of the Year Award. Dan Glanville, vice president of Government, Regulatory and Community Affairs of Comcast’s Western New England region,  presented the 2018 award to Jim Hyde, a Connecting Youth mentor at Charlotte Central School and CVU. Upon accepting the award, Hyde said to everyone in attendance: “I’m a little embarrassed to be singled out for this award when there are so many wonderful mentors both in the room and throughout Vermont. I would like to accept this award on behalf of all the adults who volunteer their time as mentors throughout the state.”

Other highlights from the morning included a civics lesson by Lt. Governor Dave Zuckerman, an interactive performance by Vermont legend Jon Gailmor, and some hands on activities such as designing posters and a button making station. We also had a photobooth corner for mentors, mentees, and supporters to get their pictures taken.

Our number of attendees nearly doubled this year, going from 90 to around 170! It was amazing to see so many kids there, and to see the number of programs well represented. Fortunately, the Vermont History Museum let us use one of their rooms for lunch, which was a huge help because it was mighty crowded in the Statehouse cafeteria. After lunch, everyone collected in the House Chambers, where our group packed the balcony to hear Representative Kathryn Webb read the Mentoring Month resolution.Following the resolution, the day concluded with tours of the Statehouse for those who wanted one. 

As Mobius’ 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA, this was my first time planning and attending this event. This event was an example of the many benefits to doing a year of service. Through planning this event, I gained experience in learning how to fundraise and request sponsorships, as well as develop some graphic design skills. I was joined by another VISTA, Aphaia Lambert-Harper, who kindly volunteered to help with taking photos all day. Aphaia and I both serve through the Vermont Youth Tomorrow VISTA program, coordinated by the Washington County Youth Services Bureau.  Our lead photographer, Lindsay Miller, also volunteered her time to help out at the event. We are also grateful to Mobius Board members/mentoring coordinators for helping out with the registration and photo booth (Gabriella Tufo Strouse, King Street Center), and the button making station (Pam Quinn, Twinfield Together Mentoring).

This event was a wonderful opportunity for mentors and mentees from across the state to interact, while also raising awareness of the importance of mentoring. We brought on a significant number of new businesses as sponsors this year, and were able to really make this event a success. I gained so much by being a part of planning and coordinating this event, and I am looking forward to being a part of all that Mobius does for youth mentoring in Vermont for the remainder of my service year.

 

 

My name is Rajnii Eddins, and I am a mentor, a spoken word/hip hop artist, and an arts educator.

I was contacted in January of 2017 by Lee Ann Donner, the former mentoring coordinator of Spectrum, who invited me to create a Rajnii and Ethan with Govrap in celebration of mentoring to be performed at the statehouse for National Mentoring Month. I was very excited about the idea, and agreed to begin working on a piece with the understanding that I would be able to bring my mentee, Ethan Katon, to perform the piece with me and share the positive experience of expressing the value of mentorship together. I chose the “So Gone Challenge” instrumental used by Monica, a popular R&B artist, because I knew it would be familiar to youth and that it would be a fun twist to celebrate mentorship through the lens of hip hop. I titled the song “I Will Succeed” as a way of positively affirming and inspiring youth on their journey to becoming productive and contributing community members as well as celebrating mentors’ valuable role in this endeavor.

It was such an exciting and engaging experience to share the song and open up for the governor at the statehouse. The crowd was a mixture of youth mentees and mentors, as well as other elders, political representatives, and mentorship organizations. What an amazing experience to see everyone participate in call and response repeating the chorus “I Will Succeed” in unison.

After sharing such a wonderful experience with my mentee, an idea came to me that this song would make a wonderful video and Rajnii with king st center teensperhaps be a useful tool/PSA in encouraging community members to mentor, and illustrating the value it plays in the role of youth and community in general. I reached out to Benji Thurber, communications director of Mobius, and he was just as excited about the idea. We set a meeting with my good friend and amazing teacher/videographer Pete Wyndorf, who took to the idea as well and agreed to team up for this most exciting and inspiring project. We were able to set a few different prime locations for filming such as King Street Center, as well as the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, and everyone showed  exuberant enthusiasm for the project that definitely shines through in the video. An additional feather in our cap was having Pete’s access to a drone camera and getting to film on the rooftop of the King Street Center. The joy seen on the faces of the children and the mentors definitely helps to display the facile connection between mentorship and positive community development. I am excited to see the video “I Will Succeed” inspire a great many more to become mentors and share this positive role in the lives of a youth.

Positive affirmation can make all the difference in a young person’s world. This is a great message and a very important one to remember. The value in encouraging youth to be their best and brightest selves cannot be overstated. I am honored to have participated in such a wonderful project, thankful to everyone who participated, and am definitely looking forward to more collaborations for this purpose. I hope it inspires you too!

“I will succeed…I will succeed…I will succeed…I will succeed…because I keep it positive in my thoughts, words, and deeds!”

-Rajnii Eddins

 

About the videographer

My name is Pete Wyndorf and I am a public educator at Milton High School, focusing on creative media and global studies. I am passionate about giving young people as much love, support, guidance, and affirmation as I possibly can, and it is for this reason that I readily agreed to collaborate with my good friend Rajnii Eddins.

The project started with the song, “I Will Succeed,” which is such a simple, yet dynamic affirmation, and Rajnii and I immediately began to visualize how this project might look and come together. We shot over two days, incorporating different locations and youth mentoring partnerships, Rajnii’s beautiful personality and music, and an improvisational spirit. The result was a wonderful combination of human spirit, synergy with the spaces in which we shot video, and tremendous positive energy. I spent a few weeks editing the project together and experimenting with different versions, but was guided by the spirit with which we executed the production, which was pretty loose and open to creative opportunities.

I had a blast working with all the wonderful adults and young people in this project, and hope that it spreads its positive message and call to action far and wide. Rajnii’s song is what makes this project so exceptional, his gift of communication and unfiltered positive energy and support for young people is contagious.

-Pete Wyndorf

 

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this process and facilitated in making this video happen.

A special thank you to: King Street Center, Spectrum Youth & Family Services, Milton Mentors!, Zach Crawford, and Gabriella Tufo Strouse.

 Individuals featured in this video:
King Street Mentees and Youth: 
Najima, Amina, Uson, Batula, Maslah, Ziree, Rahma, Jace, Salima, Bibashi, Nyla, Aden, Kaung, Rohan, Apshir, Omar, Mohamed, Nyankor, Hawa, Gaston, Dahabo, Alex, Espoir, Yusuf, Filibin, Ngang, Ayan, Kadar, Djamal, Neema, Rotha, Bassiru, Halima, Tom, Jasper, Charite, Deng
King Street Mentors: Hunter Townsend, Alyssa Malone
Milton Mentors Pair: Lisa Bongiorno and Tiana
King Street Center Staff: Rosie Czech, Deena Murphy
And filmmaker’s daughter, Sage

It was such an upper to see my mentee, who is at an age at which it’s hard to hold still, sitting quietly for long minutes with his arm outstretched in front of him, waiting for a butterfly to alight.” – A mentor from the Milton Mentors! program

Untitled-1

On one special day each year, after ECHO closes for the day, the museum and science center opens its doors to kids and their mentors for Community Science Night. This night is an opportunity for mentor pairs from northwest Vermont to explore the exhibits, get involved with hands-on demonstrations lead by the ECHO E-Team (Environmental Leadership Team), and even go on a scavenger hunt! This year, over 100 mentor pairs (more than 200 people) flooded in to experience all that ECHO has to offer.

00142The E-Team, a group of freshmen and sophomore high school students from Chittenden County, are celebrating their 10th year anniversary. Lead by Noella Krakowski, education programs coordinator at ECHO, the E-Team guided mentors and mentees through the building with a specially designed scavenger hunt, invited guests into the “Butterflies, Live!” exhibit, showcased the Champlain Sea Tank, and challenged mentors and mentees to design zip carts to save turtles.

“The Community Science Night is the time for the E-team to take over the museum,” said Krakowski. “The E-Team selects and designs the activities they want the mentor pairs to experience. It is their moment to highlight the skills they have been developing throughout the school year. I look forward every year to watching the team as they make decisions and develop their ideas.”

In addition to exploring ECHO, mentor pairs get the opportunity to meet mentor pairs from other programs or just spend time together one-on-one.

“I think it was a great opportunity for my mentee and I to do something different and enjoy nature. The butterflies were a definite highlight, we spent a lot of time in the 85 degree pavilion, which was a nice contrast to winter. I was just really grateful that we had the opportunity to enjoy this together.” Laurie Navilia-Miller, Essex FriendCHIPS Mentoring Program

Grand Isle MentoringIn total, eight mentoring programs were in attendance, including Grand Isle County Mentoring which brought 72 people (almost the entire program) to Community Science Night which serves as their one “outside of school” event for the year. The other programs in attendance were Spectrum Youth and Family Services, Community Friends Mentoring, Essex FriendCHIPS Mentoring Program, Milton Mentors!, King Street Center, Watershed Mentoring, and The DREAM Program.

ECHO goes the extra mile to reach everyone through their ECHO Open Door Program. This program makes ECHO financially accessible to all by “working to find affordable and equitable ways to allow all members of the community to have access to ECHO’s rich services and resources.” It is because of this program that mentor pairs all over Vermont have the opportunity to experience ECHO at a discounted rate any day, not just on Community Science Night. (Mentors can receive this rate by using presenting their Mobius Mentor Discount Card at the front desk.)

We want to thank ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain for hosting, Domino’s Pizza for donating over 50 pizzas to feed everyone, and the UVM Tri Delta sorority for volunteering during the event.

To learn more about the event. check out these interviews from NBC 5 with Tom Messner:

Mentors and Mentees Get a Look at ECHO
Learn More About Mobius
ECHO Celebrates Community Science Night

For more photos from the night, visit Mobius’ Facebook album!

Untitled-2

We had a great meeting with staff members from the offices of Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Bernie Sanders, and mentoring program staff from across Vermont!

We had a great meeting with staff members from the offices of Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Bernie Sanders, and mentoring program staff from across Vermont!

The National Mentoring Summit, convened by MENTOR each year at the conclusion of National Mentoring Month, brings together over 1,000 youth mentoring professionals, advocates, researchers, philanthropic investors, and government and civic leaders for three days of advocacy and professional development.

At this year’s event, earlier this February, 11 Vermont mentoring professionals (Chad and I from Mobius, and nine staff members from mentoring programs) made the trip to D.C. The theme of this year’s Summit was “Building Relationships, Advancing the Movement,” which fit well with the advocacy work that Mobius and four program staff members (from the Mentor Connector, King Street Center, Windsor County Partners, Girls/Boyz First, and Middlebury College’s Center for Community Engagement) did on the first day of the Summit. We travelled to Capitol Hill to meet with staff members from the offices of Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welch, to talk about the need for federal mentoring funding in Vermont and in other rural states.

Days two and three of the Summit were focused on highlighting national partnerships (including the NBA and LinkedIn), sharing from the latest research in the field, and workshops where participants could learn more about specific topics. For more information on the partners and themes of the Summit, visit our Facebook album about the event.

For Days two and three of the Summit, we were also joined by mentoring staff members from Essex CHIPS, Addison Northeast Supervisory Union, and Connecting Youth in Chittenden South.

For Days two and three of the Summit, we were also joined by mentoring staff members from Essex CHIPS, Addison Northeast Supervisory Union, and Connecting Youth in Chittenden South.

To try to capture what the value of attending the Summit is for someone who runs a mentoring program, we asked Gabriella Tufo-Strouse, the director of community outreach at the King Street Center (and a Mobius Board and Program Leadership Council member), to share from her experiences at this year’s event.

“The National Mentor Summit was a great experience, both professional and socially,” says Gabriella. “I loved Capitol Hill Day and being part of the advocacy work around mentoring at the state level. The networking amongst colleagues and local mentoring directors fostered good conversation and partnerships.”

“I attended five workshops and obtained useful material and insight form both the presenters as well as the audience members. My takeaways from the conference, which I will try to implement into my mentoring program, with help from mentors, youth, and other mentoring partners are:

  • Family engagement – looking at the importance of family involvement in the mentoring match.
  • Hearing youth voices – giving youth a voice in the activities and events we hold each year.
  • Transitions – looking at youth as they transition from elementary to middle and middle to high school. “

Gabriella’s participation in the Summit, and in Capitol Hill Day, was made possible through a financial scholarship awarded through the Vermont Mentoring Grants. We are grateful to the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children and the A.D. Henderson Foundation for providing funding for four such scholarships that allowed mentoring professionals from around the state to attend the event this year.

We continue to be grateful to our partners at MENTOR for organizing this annual event, which allows us to be a part of a larger movement, and benefit from the awareness, advocacy, and knowledge that this national community continues to collectively build.

CCMN serious group shot cropped

“Mentoring is such a great way to take action towards supporting and building our communities, it was really inspirational to see so many mentors who work towards that goal gathered in one place.  I hope that the event will help build more momentum in expanding mentoring across Vermont.”
– Mike Fife, Burlington

Each year, the Chittenden County Mentoring Network brings mentors from all over northwest Vermont together for a night of appreciation and community. This year, the event took place at the beautiful Burlington International Airport on January 24. Mentors and program staff from the King Street Center, Spectrum Youth and Family Services, Essex CHIPS, CY- Connecting Youth, MOVE, Saint Michael’s College, Milton Mentors, Howard Center Community Friends Mentoring, and The DREAM Program came out to share their stories and hear from mentors in other programs.

“It was a pleasure to meet so many different types of people, old, young, male, female and feel so comfortable sharing the excitement and wonderment of mentoring. Everyone couldn’t wait to share their story. It’s the first time I have ever spent an hour and half just with other mentors. The evening will be remembered as both educational and supporting.”
– Hunter Townsend, South Burlington

In addition to Burlington International Airport, we want to thank all wonderful businesses that donated their products to the event: Costco, Sugarsnap, American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, Great Harvest Bread Co., Klinger’s Bakery and Cafè, The Skinny Pancake at Burlington International Airport, Vermont Smoke & Cure, Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Sweet Clover Market, Chappell’s Florist, and the United Way of Northwest Vermont. Thank you!

“I think that it was a great experience for me to have as a mentor. I got to form a closer bond with those in my program that attended which will go to further create security and stability for our mentees. Additionally I enjoyed speaking with other mentors from around the state and can only hope that I can continue mentoring even after I leave UVM’s DREAM program.”
– Meg Rowe, Burlington

CY silly DREAM group shot silly FriendCHIPs silly shot King st group silly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AmeriCorps VISTA Logo Transparent

AmeriCorps VISTA Logo TransparentThis year, I am the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with Mobius, Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership. I began my time with Mobius in August 2016 and will complete my service year in August 2017, which means that each event and campaign we plan or participate in is the first time I will get to experience it from the Mobius side of the mentoring world.

Each year in January, Mobius organizes the annual Mentoring Celebration at the Vermont Statehouse that brings mentors, mentees, program staff, and mentoring supporters together to appreciate all of the amazing volunteer mentors we have in Vermont, and officially recognize January as National Mentoring Month. In the planning of this event, I was able to experience a long list of things I had never done before, such as asking businesses to sponsor the event. I was also able to take advantage of experiences I already had and apply them to the celebration by designing the programs and photographing the event with a fellow VISTA who serves with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bennington County and the Seedlings Program.

I walked around the event with my camera, seeing all of the hard work Mobius had put into this celebration come to life. We Emily Bellmore with award 2honored Emily Bellmore as our 2017 Vermont Comcast Mentor of the Year, danced to an awesome performance by Spectrum mentor Rajnii Eddins and his mentee Ethan, listened to Governor Phil Scott talk about his personal mentoring experiences, heard from some mentees about what their mentors mean to them, got to experience Twinfield Together Mentoring Program read the Governor’s Mentoring Month Proclamation, and heard Representative Sarah Copeland-Hanzas introduce a Mentoring
Month Resolution that was approved by the Vermont House and Senate. I saw mentors and mentees publicly recognized as they gathered in the balcony of the House Chambers and listened to Lt. Governor David Zuckerman conclude the event and begin the statehouse tours with a civics lesson.

Right now, we are reaching the end of National Mentoring Month, which also happens to mark the halfway point in my service year, and as I think back to what a busy month it has been, I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of it and cannot wait to see what the second half of my year will look like.

*This year’s event was made possible with the help of our sponsors: Lead Statehouse Event Sponsor Redstone; Mentor of the Year Sponsor Comcast Vermont Mentoring Month Sponsors Rutland Regional Medical Center, The University of Vermont Medical Center, and Cabot Creamery Co-operative; and Mentoring Supporter Sponsors DR Power Equipment, Heritage Aviation, Vermont Gas Systems, Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP., Union Mutual, Local Muscle Movers, and New England Federal Credit Union.

Special thank you to fellow VISTA Lorianna Weathers for helping me photograph the event! Both of us serve through the Vermont Youth Tomorrow VISTA program, coordinated by the Washington County Youth Service Bureau.

sponsor banner group shot

Each month, Mobius creates a blog post highlighting mentoring program events from around the state. Would you like to see your event listed here (and referenced in Vermont’s Mentoring Newsletter)? Email [email protected] with a write-up that includes the location and date of your event, as well as a summary of what happened. Photos are strongly encouraged!

WCS CY Mentoring Kick Off Dinner – November 2, 2016

Connecting Youth Mentoring 2016 Kickoff at Williston Central SchoolConnecting Youth mentees from Williston Central School gathered with their mentors and with their families over a delicious dinner to celebrate their mentoring friendships and to kick off the new mentoring year.  These photos give you a glimpse of the “meant to be” Connecting Youth pairs – both established and newly matched – now launched across the school district.

Learn more by checking out the full slide show of photos from the event on the Williston Central School website! Special thanks to photographer Bill Knight.

2016 Kickoff Dinner for Connecting Youth Mentoring at Williston Central School

Starksboro Mentoring Pizza and Games Night – November 9, 2016

Pizza Night for Youth Mentoring - Starksboro Mentoring ProgramOn November 9, nearly 70 mentors, mentees and mentee family members from the Starksboro Mentoring Program joined together at the Robinson School cafeteria to eat pizza and play games together. There were dozens of games to choose from spread through 5 offices and classrooms in the school. A peek into any given room revealed mentees and mentors locked in concentration over chess and battleship matches, parents receiving gameplay tips from their children, and smiles on every face. “I had so much fun playing Checkers with my mentor and my family!” said one mentee, who was surrounded by mom, dad, mentor and siblings. This evening was the first of its kind, and its success surely points to more in the program’s future.

Starksboro Mentoring Match at Mentoring Pizza and Games Night - 2016Group shot of mentors and mentees at Starksboro Mentoring Pizza and Game Night 2016

Each month, Mobius creates a blog post highlighting mentoring program events from around the state. Would you like to see your event listed here (and referenced in Vermont’s Mentoring Newsletter)? Email [email protected] with a write-up that includes the location and date of your event, as well as a summary of what happened. Photos are strongly encouraged!

 

Twinfield Together’s Patty and Lydia Talk to StoryCorps – September 2016

StoryCorps Comes to Vermont - Twinfield Together MentoringPatty and Lydia are in their fifth year of mentoring with the Twinfield Together Mentoring Program.  Earlier this fall, they joined StoryCorps to talk about their mentoring experiences. Listen to this  four-minute StoryCorps excerpt to hear Lydia and Patty reflect on first impressions, opening up, and what their relationship might be like in 10 years.