April 2021

Stories to share:

Connected through Language

A mentor who is a retiring English Language Instructor at a local community college eagerly joined the mentor pool this year! She teaches English to level one learners who are exchange students from Asian countries. Originally, we did not have a student that fit that description, so I decided to match her with a Spanish-speaking student who wanted a mentor. Before I talked to that student, the ELL teacher told me that a new student from China recently moved into our school district. The student knows very little English and uses Google Translate to communicate with her teachers and peers. It was a perfect match!! The next week the mentor and student met each other and have started meeting weekly!

Creatively Staying Connected

There are still some students and mentors who are not able to meet in person or via Zoom, but we have tried different ways to help them stay connected! One student is experiencing some concerning health problems, so the student’s mentor and I have organized a care package for her. One mentor is still quarantining and does not use Zoom, so we have started periodic phone calls between the two. I pull the student from one of their classes and they talk for 30 minutes on my office phone. I have never connected a student with a mentor by phone, but they told me that it was the perfect amount of time and they talked about everything! Other mentors have sent cards and care packages to their students, too.

Stories from Mentors who met their mentee for the first time this month:

“This is what was missing in my life!” – FHS Mentor, Kevin Lee

“Carwash Kevin” owns Kevin’s Carwash in Ferndale and Blaine. The FHS Mentor Coordinator recruited Kevin specifically for this student. Both share a love of cars and history, and the student wanted someone warm and animated. They spent their first meeting talking about fixing up Camaros and historic events that the mentee’s family members lived through. The mentee signed up for a mentor last year, but the process was interrupted by the Covid school closure last March. After a year of waiting, I think it was worth the wait!

“I love her! I hope she likes me, too. She is so grounded and open about her life.” – FHS Mentor, Erin Gunter

“I feel like it went really well because we have similar personalities.” – Erin’s Mentee

Erin is on the Ferndale City Council and is a mother of FHS alumni! The FHS Mentor Coordinator is not surprised they felt an instant connection. Erin is very active in her community, just like her mentee. They also form strong bonds with small friend groups, but treat everyone with dignity and respect. Their biggest challenge will be finding time to meet since they have very busy schedules, however Erin plans on being a consistent spectator at her mentee’s FHS soccer games next year! Their bond has just begun, and we cannot wait to see where it takes them!

BTO Engagement:

7 students using Zoom regularly

14  in-person matches mentoring!! (Up 5 from last month) (2 more will begin in May)

8 Matches using TextBridge

7 students emailing occasionally, disengaged, or waiting until next year to resume 

1 match closure (student and mentor still connected/informally meeting – teacher/student check in)

Program Development

  • 1 New match likely to begin in May
  • 4 New matches started (First time since last school year!)
  • Started planning End of the Year (EOY) activities:
    • Student Interviews – April 19-23rd – 11 students interviewed via Zoom
    • Edaleen Field Trip – Initial planning – Students received perm. slips
      • Mentor and Student receive gift card to Edaleen (Donated by Edaleen!)
      • Walk from FHS to Edaleen during mentoring hour
    • Pictures of Pairs – Pictures taken – Will print off and give to mentor/student
    • Adopt a BTO Senior – Connecting w/community partners & Collecting permission and bios from students
      • 6 Seniors eligible to participate
      • Seniors receive care packages every week leading up to graduation (May 15-Jun 11)
      • Multiple community partners interested in adopting a BTO Senior
  • Mentor Coordinator Meeting – Focus on Wrapping up the Year – April 27th
  • Planning maternity leave for 2021-2022 School Year.
  • Mentor Coordinators are checking in with each other and collaborating on a regular basis.