The following is compiled from the end of the year reports of Margaret Vailencour at Lynden Middle School and Lisa Reynolds at Lynden High School.
Margaret: Here at the Middle School there are 19 matched Mentors/Mentees. We have another 20 students on the wait list that have either been referred by a counselor or have seen what an awesome thing it is to have a mentor from their friends. I’m sure that if I told counselors and teachers that we had more mentors ready to go, the list would grow longer. I hope to match at least a few of these students asap since new mentors have signed up. However, as the wait list grows so does the need for hours to be but in by the coordinator. Currently the middle school coordinator is only a part time position, but to meet the needs of our students it needs to be full time.
Lisa: This is the first year we have been able to see a student/mentor pair stay together all through high school, grades 9-12! 3 Seniors in the class of 2017 have been with their mentors for 4 years. In our program we have been able to maintain a Continued high retention rate of both mentors and students (87%). The national average is only about 50%. Currently there are 51 matched pairs meeting regularly at the High School equaling 867 hours of one-to-one mentoring face time! This doesn’t include those who are meeting off campus, so the number is actually higher.
Margaret: One Mentor (at the Middle School) has been meeting with his Mentee for a few months, they had a good connection and the Mentee was sharing, but not about personal struggles. When I saw the Mentor after their meeting one day and asked how their time was, the Mentor responded, “It was a great visit, they finally opened up about some the things they’re struggling with. It was awesome, we had a great visit!”
Lisa: Over the course of the last year 64 Adults attended a New Mentor Orientation Session (10 of whom speak Spanish!) and 38 active mentors attended one or more of the 4 Mentor Equipping Sessions to learn more and improve their skills. This equaled to 123 additional hours invested above and beyond to learn and become better mentors. Special guest speakers and topics ranged from drug addiction recovery to the role of CPS in our community.
Margaret: Another Mentor brought in all the ingredients to make slime with their Mentee. They’ve made it twice now, the second time with the Mentee’s friend. They also make other crafts and journal together. The Mentee’s mother has told me that her child loves meeting with their mentor. One Mentor, after meeting with the Mentee for a couple of months, asked the Mentee if there was something the Mentee would like to learn in their hour together. The Mentor is now teaching the Mentee how to knit and they are both really enjoying knitting together.
Lisa: There were also other events hosted by Be The One to meet the needs of our students. 8 Saturday School Sessions this year feed a minimum of 267 students breakfast, tutors from Western and fellow students were also on hand to help with homework, turning what used to be viewed as something like detention to a eagerly anticipated event. One student proclaimed, “I wish school was like this every day!” In addition to the tutoring 18 students had mock job interviews with mentors and 8 mentors attended Field trips with mentees to BTC and WCC.
Margaret: When I was passing out the permission letters and information about the end of the year Cruise to Mentees, one Mentee was studying with other students and told his friends that he was going on a cruise with Be the One. The other students asked what Be the One was and the Mentee responded, “You don’t know the Be the One Program??”
“It’s So Cool, I Can’t Believe You Guys Don’t Know About The Be The One Program!”
Nancy provides the critical backbone of labor, coordination and communication for Partners for Schools. She understands the heart beat and passion of our school leaders and teachers. “After raising our 4 kids, I know it just does not stop there. It really takes many individuals and a community to support kids, families and schools, and I love connecting the critical dots. Every child can benefit from a caring adult mentor”