Currently viewing the tag: "mentor pairs"

It wasn’t a steering wheel, but a potter’s wheel that mentees and mentors were driving at Shelburne Art Center’s monthly Dinner and Art for mentor pairs.  The class was small enough that clay artist (and teacher extraordinaire) Rik Rolla felt comfortable giving a brief demonstration, then giving each mentor and mentee a turn at the wheel.

Johara, from Spectrum, makes a pot with help of teacher Rik Rolla.

Johara, my mentee through the Spectrum Mentoring program, went first.  She threw the clay in the middle of the wheel and she centered it with a little help from Rik.  In no time at all she had formed a very nice pot.

“That looked pretty easy!”  I thought.  One at a time we each took our turn.  Johara’s younger sister, Muna, was next, then Nikki from HowardCenter’s Community Friends Mentoring, then her mentor Sheila, and then me.  It turns out it wasn’t as easy as it looked, but we all had a great time.  With Rik’s help (a lot of help) we each created a pot that we will be proud of.

Pots ready for the kiln.

It turns out that Johara made it look easy because she seems to have a natural feel for the wheel.  So much so that Rik took notice and arranged to get a scholarship for Johara to be part of his wheel class in May.  Little sister, Muna, was excited for Johara, but also hoped to attend with her, but the last scholarship available went to Johara.  A very kind donor to Shelburne Art Center was so moved when she learned about the girls, that she has offered to pay Muna’s tuition for the class.

When Johara learned about the scholarship offer, she lit up like a spring flower on a warm day.  In a New American family of six children, she doesn’t get to feel special very often.  She has talent!  She beamed with excitement!

Johara and Rik at the wheel.

The Shelburne Art Center has supported mentoring with the free Dinner and Art program since the fall.  Whether a mentee comes just once and has a good time making something, or if they come every month like Johara and Muna, those moments of fun and accomplishment make a huge difference in their lives.  Thank you, Rik, Sage, and everyone at Shelburne Art Center!

The April Dinner and Art was the last one at Shelburne Art Center.  In May, going back to its roots, the Shelburne Art Center will become the Shelburne Craft School, which was the original name of the organization, dating back to 1938.   The first Dinner and Art for mentor pairs at the Shelburne Craft School will be May 21st.  Come join in on the fun!

Muna made this monkey face, a gift for a special friend.

Dream was the theme of the February Dinner and Art class at Shelburne Art Center, and the mentees and mentors participating had a great time expressing their dreams in clay.  For several months the Shelburne Art Center and clay artist Rik Rolla have graciously invited mentor pairs to come in and work on pottery projects.  In the past matches have worked on plates, mugs, and luminaries.

This month Rik offered up a challenge to choose a project and make it express a dream.  Pairs from the Dream Program and Spectrum took advantage of this terrific opportunity to be creative.  Busy hands smoothed clay, joined pieces (carefully ‘scoring’ and wetting the edges to make them stay together).  They etched textures and designs, and some etched their names.  They painted color ‘slips’ on the plates, mugs, and objets d’art.

One made a mug big enough to drink soup from.  The dream theme may have gotten a bit lost, but the enthusiasm for being creative and making something was in full force.

Clay artist and teacher extraordinaire Rik Rolla

The next Dinner and Art is Monday, March 19.  If you haven’t participated, try it next month.  The projects are always fun.  Rik is a wonderful teacher (with the patience of a saint).  It is a great activity for mentor and mentee.  Are you up for it?


Andrea and Hawa at American Flatbread

American Flatbread might best be known for its focus on healthy delicious food and its support of  local farms.  But in the mentoring community they are also known as a favorite spot for mentor pairs to dine.  As a Mobius Mentoring Card sponsor, they offer 50% off for mentor pairs that dine there.

That is only one of the ways American Flatbread supports mentoring in our community.  For the fourth year in a row America Flatbread Burlington raised money for mentoring by having a benefit “bake” during National Mentoring Month.  This year they raised  more than $500 to support mentoring.

Supporting mentoring is in line with the mission of American Flatbread, which is “to provide good, flavorful, nutritious food that gives both joy and health, and to share this food with others in ways sustainable to all.”  They have a philosophy of being a good neighbor and an education resource.

Sasha Adams, Tara Bartlik, Emilly Bellmore (Manager of American Flatbread), and JJ Vandette at the annual Mobius Benefit Bake

“The Mobius movement is a wonderful program that we love to support. It’s for kids, it’s about supporting local mentoring movements, and it benefits others in the community,” according to American Flatbread manager, Emily Bellmore.  But for her, it is probably even a bit more personal than that, because she has been a mentor with the Boys and Girls Club for more than three years.

There are many ways to support mentoring in our community.  The best way to begin is to become a mentor.  You’ll love it, and Mobius would love to get you started. [email protected]








Dinner and Art class at Shelburne Art Center

A big slab of clay can have quite an effect on a child, turning pre-teenage boredom to intense focus in a matter of seconds. The first Dinner and Art class at Shelburne Art Center may have sown the seeds for a group of up-and-coming ceramic artists.  At the very least, it gave them an evening of fun and creativity, and a real interest in coming back next month.


Teacher Rik Rolla knows how to command a child’s attention, and an adult’s for that matter. He got the group right in to the clay, allowing us to choose shapes for our plates, showing us options for creating texture, and teaching us to use slips (suspensions of clay particles in water with color pigment) to add colors. It was great fun! Young hands and older hands worked side by side, pressing clay against selected plate molds, smoothing with wet sponges, applying textures and slips.  After they got the hang of it, mentees went back for seconds, choosing to make additional smaller plates or mugs.

Rik has been teaching pottery classes for children and adults at Shelburne Art Center for four years. He knows that allowing kids to get in and get their hands dirty, learn to use the tools and equipment, and  “play,” gets them engaged. He was pleased the youngsters could come to the studio. “They all were very well behaved and very creative. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to play with all of you.”

Next month, we will come back to find that Rik has fired the work in the kiln, glazed it, and fired it again.  We can’t wait to see the final products and to start working on luminaries (and learning to use the extruder).

Mentees' and Mentors' creations drying and awaiting the kiln.

Through the generosity of  the Shelburne Art Center, these special mentor-pair classes are free.   According to SAC Executive Director Sage Tucker-Ketcham, SAC has provided access to arts and crafts and a creative environment for people of all skill levels for more than 65 years.  “Mobius and the mentoring programs it serves are perfect partners for us to insure that our mission is being honored. With a generous scholarship donation we are able to provide an instructor and space for these creative mentor pairs.  We are pleased, excited, and honored to have mentors and mentees here to share the joy of creating.”

If you and your mentee would like to come create with us, please join us next time, November 21 at 5:30.  Please RSVP Here.

John Gallagher and Charles, a mentor pair through HowardCenter's Community Friends Mentoring.

Mobius would like to say a huge thank you to the Lake Monsters for a great night at the ball park!  It was Mentoring Night as well as Military Appreciation Night, and Centennial Field was packed.  The Lake Monsters graciously provided tickets for mentor pairs. Matches from Spectrum, Community Friends (HowardCenter), King Street, Sara Holbrook, and the Boys and Girls Club came out to root for the home team.


Governor Peter Shumlin with Mobius E.D. Andrea Torello and her King Street mentee, Hawa.

John Gallagher is a mentor with the Community Friends mentoring program at HowardCenter.  He says he and Charles, his mentee, are both baseball fans. “We like nothing more than sitting in the grandstands watching the boys play ball. It is also a great chance for us to talk and spend some quality time with each other.”

Others spending quality time at the ball game included Governor Peter Shumlin, who stopped by the Mobius table to offer  compliments on “great work” for mentoring.

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