Discover what is happening on all 5 school campuses with Be The One.
Ferndale High School
It’s not only inspiring watching the growth and development of the students in the program, but also to witness the mentors evolve in the relationships too. With time and connection, mentors become more secure about how to best support their mentees. In one case this month a student confided in her mentor and was looking for advice. The mentor shared that they “didn’t give her advice but” rather, “helped walk her through it.” At the
end of their meeting, the student had clarity about her situation and was able to make her own decision with support and guidance from her mentor. We love seeing students gain life skills that will help them to
better navigate their bright futures!
If you read any news about public schooling, you know that absenteeism is a big concern across the nation and that it’s only gotten worse since covid. Districts are devoting a lot of time and resources to address the
chronic absenteeism issue. Prior to our recent three day “snow day” school closures last week, a student who rides the bus to school didn’t want to wait for the bus due to the freezing cold temperatures. But when she remembered that it was a day she got to meet with her mentor, she chose to brave the cold and come to school.
Ferndale Virtual Academy’s Program Coordinator shared that she has heard “many times from her students that (they) want to come to school tomorrow because my mentor will be here, and I want to see them!” She elaborated by saying “Having Be The One mentors has increased attendance and given students a positive interaction and reason to engage in school.” We know this to be true!
Annie and Michele twinning in the FIGHT shirts designed to support Michele in her battle with breast
Update on Michele’s Fight against Cancer
Many staff, mentors and community members have asked for an update on Michele’s fight against
breast cancer. For those who are not aware, Michele was diagnosed with breast cancer and is
undergoing treatment. She started her 3rd round of Chemo on January 30th and has 3 more rounds to
go. So far, she has fought off nausea, which was her biggest worry, and has even come into FHS a
handful of times to work! The plan is for Annie to work Monday-Wednesday and Michele to work
remotely as much as possible. In May, Michele will undergo surgery and will take leave from BTO for the
remainder of the school year. Expect many Spring activities to be moved up to March/April this year.
Michele and Annie appreciate all the love, support and grace that you have extended to us as we adjust
to the new plan. -Annie
- Current mentoring pairs: 35 (2 more than December) – January New Mentor Orientation was on 1/24/24 -Two new mentors attended and both are
continuing with the onboarding process
- February New Mentor Orienation – 2/27/24 Time TBD
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will
forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made
them feel.” ~Maya Angelo
Lynden High School
Stories to Share:
Missed Connections: Between holidays, snow days, illnesses, and semester finals, many mentoring
appointments end up canceled in January. Students and mentors kept asking me to deliver the message:
“Tell them I’ll miss them this week!” I know they sincerely meant it. A few mentors dropped off items
of encouragement or sent emails during finals week for an extra little boost, even though they
couldn’t meet in person.
Not too Cool to be a Fool: Having fun and laughing together goes a long way in developing a supportive
mentoring relationship. Recently, someone donated a new game “Super Skills” which involves a variety
of physical challenges using basic items like cups, ping pong balls, and chopsticks. I asked a pair to try it
out, and they had a great time encouraging each other in the tasks and laughing at their efforts.
When I checked to see how it was going, I found them both on the floor laughing hysterically. (See
attached photos of this game)
Long term impact: I always enjoy hearing from mentors who stay in touch with their students long after
graduation. This month I heard from one mentor who reconnected with his mentee who was home
from college during Christmas break. They got together at Woods, played a favorite game, and shared
stories. He is doing well! Another mentor shared an update on her student who graduated from LHS
a few years ago. She completed her degree at WWU, got married, and she and her husband just
purchased their first home. (See attached photos, shared with permission). A recent National MENTOR
study shows that adults attribute much of their personal success to the impact of mentors during their
youth—including attending college, finding a career, and upward economic mobility. I think these LHS
graduates would fit right in by attributing some of their success to the impact of their mentors.
Highlights from this month:
Maintaining 68 matches
January 23rd area coordinator meeting in Ferndale
MENTOR National Research Study—I read through the comprehensive 56 page report, and was
not at all surprised to find research that supports the long-term impact of mentoring on
mental health as well as sense of belonging for teens.
Approved BTO Yearbook page prior to submission. Freshman student did a great job on the layout! Shows a good representation of students and mentors. I think some mentors may be surprised to find their photos in the yearbook so long after they graduated high school.
New Mentor Orientation Friday, February 16th, 9:00-11:00 am at LMS
Mentor Equipping February 12/13—Trauma, Grief, and Resilience presented by Mike Black,
Lynden Middle School
Stories to Share
During this school year, our program has seen a few unfortunate events. Students have moved out of the district or changed schools. On top of that, our mentoring program has faced sickness, discipline issues, traveling, and school closures. As you can imagine, these things can really disrupt the
mentoring process. Despite the challenges we have faced,
MENTORS HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC through all of it. They selflessly donate their time to positively impact their students. Even when a few students have left our school and our program, the mentors have still made the effort to mentor them outside of school. This program would not exist without our amazing
mentors coming weekly.
Consistency Equals Joy
One mentor and student have been mentoring together for the past three years. Every week the mentor
consistently comes and spends time with his student, and the two have grown closer together. Recently, I talked with the mentor, and he told me a wonderful story. At the beginning of their relationship, the student was shy and gave short answers to the mentor’s questions. They would play games and talk, but the student commonly appeared to be reserved and distant. The mentor had unbelievable patience and continued to be there for the student, no matter what. Today, the student is thriving and talkative. The two laugh every week and the student seems to have more joy as of late. This student now has someone he can really count on, and that equates to joy!
Mentoring by the Numbers at LMS
- 34 active matches at the middle school
- 9 Students on our wait list, waiting for a mentor
- 15 potential students interested or referred to the program
- 352 hours of mentoring so far this school year
Mentoring Survey Results
A national mentoring survey produced by the National Mentor Partnership was published in 2024. This survey was
conducted over the course of the last 10 years. Here are some interesting things that came out of this survey:
The most common reasons for students wanting a mentor (mentioned by respondents in the national sample):
- Troubles/Issues (family, mental health, D/A, peer issues, teen concerns) 54%
- Support/Guidance needed (someone to talk to, loneliness, building confidence) 29%
- School/Career Success (help with school, finding a career, going to college) 19%
- Other reasons (Growing up, transitions, moving, stress) 25%
Ways mentors support (according to respondents) – top responses
- Accepting them for who they are
- Listening carefully
- Trusting them
- Being Patient
- Taking them seriously
Lynden Christian High School
In January we have searching for routine, but had a few hiccups along the way. With the ending of Christmas break, finals and semester changes, and then snow finding time to meet became a bit of a challenge, but we are looking forward to more consistency in February. Six pairs are now meeting regularly at Lynden Christian- two pairs from the middle school and four from the high school.
I have received a few new referrals from staff and parents the past couple of weeks, so there may be room for growth- be praying! I have a few mentors who have patiently been awaiting a match this school year, so hoping we can make that happen.
Many pairs started a new project in January. We secured a number of “Paint by number” activities and pairs have started the process of a painting project together (see photos of the beginning phase). Having activities can help provide a safe space for healthy conversations as they create!
STORY TO SHARE
As pairs graduate they are able to extend their friendship beyond the bounds of school.
Some pairs cease to meet, others meet on occasion, and some decide to keep a regular
check-in time. It can be incredibly beneficial for some mentees to have their mentor as
they navigate the newness of the adult world. One of our graduated pairs still try to meet
as much as they can. Both developed a bond that they wanted to extend out into the real
world. Since graduation the have been able to converse on a deeper level and continue to
navigate life together.
□ New Mentor Orientation/ Information- February 16 from 9:00-11:00am at Lynden
Middle School. Right now, is a great time to sign-up to be a mentor. There won’t
be many opportunities to attend an orientation after March/ April, so it is great to
get that done now!
□ Mentor Equipping- February 12 + 13- Trauma, Grief, and Resilience identical
sessions presented by LMHC and former School Counselor, Mike Black
Nooksack Valley High School
Busy busy! with the snow days + semesters changing + basketball games + TOLO + Career Day!
- One new match this month! 21 current matches.
- On one very cold day, I was shocked at how many people were wearing their new BTO long
- I met with many students who are interested in having a mentor and am hopeful to begin several
new matches in the second semester.
- NVHS hosted their second annual Career Day, where 47 different careers were represented with
55+ community members on campus. Several of whom are BTO mentors! Careers like zookeeper
to tattoo artist to law enforcement to welding! Many were NVSD alums, some traveled from
Seattle and all were excited to help their local students think about life after high school. Career
Day has also prompted great conversations between matches about future planning. I
helped with the coordinating and communication for the event as I speak with community
members often. It was a lot of work and was very rewarding!
- From the students:
“I don’t have people in my family telling me about their careers, I really want to be that
person for my family and community”.
“I chose psychologist as my ‘wild card’, but then I realized that could totally fit my
“I think I want to be a marine biologist now”.
“Hearing about the benefits on top of the pays blew me away”.
“Did you know that ‘blood splatter’ is a whole field in forensics?
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