Lynden Mentor Coordinator Reports 3-30-2018

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Lynden High School –

Lisa Reynolds, Mentor Coordinator

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A mentor brought her student to me after she shared some serious mental health concerns and was quite distraught about things going on at home—both past and present.  She trusted her mentor to share this heavy load for the first time (they have been meeting for two years). Together we were able to get her in to her school counselor and start the process of getting her set up with mental health counseling.  I’m so glad she had her mentor to talk to in this critical moment.  Relationships save lives. 

A mentor shared a story of growth with me about his student who he just met in October.  They have been working on self-advocating: because the student lacks confidence and is frequently indecisive, his mentor has been pushing him to make decisions and state preferences during their time together, and that skill is translating to other parts of his life.  As a result, he seems more comfortable at school, more engaged with peers, and generally happier.  He now trusts his mentor and is starting to open up about more serious concerns in his life. Small steps make a difference. 

Another mentor shared about the growth she has seen in her student who she has been working with for 4 years, since she was in middle school.  This young lady is now doing much better in school academically and looking at plans for college.  She used to isolate herself at school and avoid peers, but this year she is engaging with others in the halls and cafeteria as well as the classroom and has joined a club.  I’ve noticed a huge difference!  She also convinced her younger brother to ask for a mentor at LMS because she sees the benefit to her life.  The longer a relationship continues, the more the student grows.

One young man recently shared how hesitant he had been to come to Improv class but decided to give it a try.  While initially reluctant to participate, he became more and more comfortable each week. Recently in the appreciation circle at the end of a class he shared how he had felt invisible at school. For him being invisible was worse than being bullied because "when you are bullied you are at least seen". Through his experience with peers and mentors, over the course of weeks, he felt accepted and valued. He was also proud of his greatly increased comfort in participation.  Laughter is good medicine for all of us and one of life's best teachers.

Mentoring Highlights:  

  • 52 active matches at LHS
  • 3 new referrals in process
  • Several new requests and recently matched students—mostly underclassmen
  • Hosted 2 new mentor orientations at the end of February:  10 attendees, resulting in several new mentors—some have already been matched with students at LHS or LMS
  • Future Freshman Night:  positive interactions with 8th grade students and parents, including letting 8th graders with mentors know they could continue at LHS!
  • March Mentor Equipping:  MAD HOPE suicide awareness training:  46 attendees including mentors and community members; very positive feedback, which lead to MAD HOPE being invited to our LHS health classes later in the month.

Other Program Events:    

  • After school IMPROV class on Thursdays—going great!  Another session starts after spring break. 
  • Saturday School breakfast continues; 40 students showed up to work on homework and eat green pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Lynden Middle School –

Brian Clemmer, Mentor Coordinator

A student was meeting with her mentor when someone walked by and said something inappropriate, which clearly upset the student.  She became agitated and was having a hard time focusing again on the conversation, when her mentor stepped in and began walking her through a process of calming down and moving past the troubling incident.  The mentor’s reassuring presence helped the girl refocus and regain a positive perspective for the next class period.  The mentor then went the extra mile and addressed the inappropriate comment with the proper staff at the school. The consistent presence of a caring mentor puts them in the right place at the right time to help.

One mentor was asked to work on some basic skills from a particular class to help a mentee.  After their time together the mentee walked away feeling encouraged and teachers mentioned how that mentee’s attitude changed the next period. Mentors leave encouragement behind when they leave. 

One mentor and mentee decided to look together at a career matching website.  As they had fun taking quizzes and answering questions they soon discovered what careers would best fit them.  The mentee was excited to learn that she would make a great teacher and then the pair had an exciting discussion how that would look in the future.  The mentee was so excited, she went home and shared the results with her parents. Life's biggest decisions sometimes take place in the small conversations with someone who cares.

This story was shared by a mentor…“Sometimes a mentor can feel like they are not making a difference at all.  I can tend to feel that way sometimes.  Well, I was out in the community one day when I saw my mentee and her mom.   I introduced myself and we talked for a bit.  Then I was touched by something my mentee’s mom told me.  She said that her daughter would come home once a week and share every detail of our time together and more importantly she absolutely loves it!  You just never know the impression we are making on our young people.  It sure makes the effort sooo worthwhile.” 

Mentoring Highlights:

  • 18 active matches at the middle school
  • 3 matches made this week
  • 10 new referrals in process
  • Many of the mentees we have are struggling through some tough issues right now, but the mentors have been able to be that “listening ear” for them in this time of crisis.
  • We have 4 pairs that have now been together for over a year.  It is always great to see mentors continue to be a support for students beyond that initial year together.

Other program events:

  • Art Club: We have 4 volunteers from BE THE ONE that come and help assist with our school’s art club and this seems to be a great success.