Tuesday, May 1, 2007

And Now a Word From Our Director ...

Since we have been blogging for an entire 5 days now, we thought it would be a good time to give you a clearer picture of what we actually do.  So our director, Marie Gelineau, wrote up the following overview of our group:

Each year we are contacted by folks looking for mentors for youngsters at their schools and that’s our biggest challenge. We always have a long waiting list of children waiting for mentors. We coordinate 5 “arms” of mentoring, thus the name “Starfish Initiative” for our programs:

Let’s Do Lunch Mentoring Program (LDL) is a school-based mentoring program in which mentors meet with their assigned youth, one day a week, during lunch time, only on-campus, and only during the school year. Some mentors and youth are in their seventh year in the mentoring relationship. Mentors are provided for children grades 1 to 12.

Lunch and More is an extension of the LDL program and was developed in response to requests from mentors and youth who wanted to spend more time together. In addition to meeting at the school each week, mentors that successfully complete the RightFoot screening process can also meet with their assigned youth under the auspices of the Springfield Club. Mentors and youth can participate in all the activities sponsored by the Club or in other youth programs supervised activities.

PALS (Promoting Assets that Lead to Success) follows the Big Brothers/Big Sisters model. Mentors are carefully screened including an FBI background check and driving record check and are matched with a child that has similar interests. Mentors can meet the youth at school for lunch as well as spend time with the child out in the community. Mentors are encouraged to meet with the youth for three to five hours weekly.

SPARK (Seniors Promoting Asset building & Resiliency in Kids) is a program with senior citizens as mentors, “grand mentors” mentor pre-school children in a supervised classroom setting. Mentors also connect with parents or guardians to begin a relationship. The mentor may continue to mentor a particular child when he/she enters kindergarten and in future years.

Just Now is a pre-charge restorative justice program. For the past four years, we have matched youth that are enrolled in this program with adults in the “PALS” mentoring program. One of our big successes is that several youth are matched with mentors and none of them have committed a second offense. This speaks to the benefits of a young person having a caring adult mentor. Experience is fostered with a positive role model and it provides an opportunity for the youth to know that their community cares about them.

These programs promote positive connections between businesses, schools and the community as well as career awareness opportunities for students. We also provide an opportunity for students to visit their mentor’s workplace for lunch and a job shadow experience before the end of each school year.

These programs are currently financially supported by Springfield Lions and Rotary Clubs, Union Street, Elm Hill and Park Street P.T.A.s, Springfield Savings & Loan Assoc., Merchants Bank, Bryant Credit Union, United Way of Southern Windsor County, Springfield Police Association, and by grants from Agency of Human Services, Safe and Drug-free Schools & Communities Program. Other supporters are Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Prevention Coalition and the Southern State Correctional Facility who provides fingerprinting services for mentor background checks. And as always we are supported by people like YOU.

Thank you for your support!
Marie Gelineau, Executive Director

For information about getting a mentor or becoming a mentor contact Marie at TRVBEP at (802) 885-8314.  

If you can't become a mentor please consider a donation to help support our efforts.  The "Donate" area on the right panel of our blog will allow you to donate securely online.  If you prefer,  you can also mail a donation to TRV, 307 South Street, Springfield, VT 05156

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