Stories to share:

Reunited and it feels so good!

Right when we were approved to conduct in-person meetings off-campus, the new restrictions prohibited indoor meetings. I asked all the qualifying students if they wanted to meet outdoors at Hovander park, or wait until we could meet indoors again. One student said they wanted to meet outdoors and see their mentor! They hadn’t seen each other since March and were only communicating through snail mail. They spent the hour talking, laughing and eating some treats. They decided to try out Zoom together since it will get too cold to meet outside.

Meeting Indoors, outdoors or not at all

With the new restrictions, we were trying to arrange a meeting off-site. One student could choose to meet that day at Woods Coffee or wait until Wednesday and meet outside at Hovander park. Here is how the conversation went:

Student: Today won’t work for me [at Woods]. I’m having a really bad day and just kinda want to be lazy. I don’t even know how I’m going to manage the bto meetings.

Mentor Coordinator (MC): If it’s too much, then we can wait. You don’t have to have your act together for the meetings, just come as you are. But, if it’s added stress, that’s not what we want. Your meetings with your mentor should be uplifting and something you look forward to. Let’s wait until we can arrange something that can bring you that.”

Mentor Coordinator: I told your mentor and she completely understands. She’s going to write you an email this week. Hang in there, kiddo”

 Even if our mentors and students cannot be together physically, they are still there for each other. Mentoring can happen at a distance!

 A message from a mentor:

“I didn’t know what to expect going into this [Mentoring]. Curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to see if I could give back in this way. I am grateful to know that my mentee values our time together. I think more often than I let on, he has introduced me to new information, or introduced me to a new perspective. I’ll work on that.” Ezra Moore, FHS Mentor

 FHS Reopening Information:

  • Late October we moved to Stage 3 for reopening. See link: https://www.ferndalesd.org/reopening-plan/learning-model-status
  • The majority of students will work remotely until end of January (end of first Semester)
  • Students in life skills, a behavior program or in ELL have returned to campus two days a week
  • FHS will continue to allow students who need internet access to work on-campus
  • On November 14th until December 14th, new restrictions limit indoor activities, schools were not originally affected, except for indoor sport practices. Schools are encouraged to follow local Health Department guidelines.
  • On November 25th, the Whatcom Health Department recommended that middle school and high school operate completely remote (with a couple exceptions). This recommendation did not affect FHS since this is how FHS has been operating. It did, however, affect other county school districts.
  • In-person learning is predicted to begin after January 2021.

TextBridge – Secure Texting for Mentors and Students

  • Piloting program for up to 5 students and their mentor
    • No contact info is exchanged
    • Texting between the hours of 7am-8pm
    • All messages are logged in a database
  • Offering this service to Seniors first, to increase likelihood of correspondence post-highschool
  • 1 student and mentor have signed up for the service, 4 more are interested (likely to begin in December)

Meeting in Person

Off-Campus, In-person meetings proposal was approved on Tuesday October 27th. Due to the new restrictions, in-person meetings can only take place outdoors in a public location.

  • One mentor and student met at Hovander Park on 11/18
    • They hadn’t seen each other since March
    • Were only using snail mail to correspond since March
    • After the in-person meeting, they decided to try Zoom!
  • All other qualifying mentors/students opted to wait until indoor meetings resume

Program Development

  • No new matches at FHS in November. Will begin new matches when students are on campus and volunteers are allowed in the building.
    • Already have 3 new matches ready for “initial meeting” once it’s possible
  • “Even the Helpers need Helping: Selfcare for Mentors” – November 19th 10-11am
    • Zoom Equipping for all mentors
    • Speaker is Lindsay Anderson, Nooksack Valley Elem. Mental Health Counselor
    • Recording of the training can be found here: https://www.betheonetoday.org/mentor-equipping-helping-the-helper/
  • Mentor Coordinators are checking in with each other and collaborating on a regular basis.