Blessings come into our lives in ways we don’t immediately recognize until we stop and look back on how the seemingly unrelated parts of the happy puzzle fit together. Then we realize how lucky we are!
Mae was a shy, withdrawn fourth grader who was struggling socially at school. Her mother signed her up for the Chautauqua Striders Mentoring program because she knew Mae needed a male figure to balance the female household. Mae was paired up with Len Barry. Talk about opposites! The first thing one thinks when they see Len is “my, he is tall!”, then you see his warmth and smile. Len says, “In the beginning we spent most of the first month getting to know each other. We talked a lot about family and food. Conversation flows easily with her…she’s been comfortable, happy and energetic.” They enjoyed their weekly lunch meetings. They built a friendship that has had the changes Mae’s mother was looking for. Mae’s mother commented, “Len has made such a huge impact in Mae’s life. Her confidence has improved week after week, with every lunch meeting they have. I see the impact in her, and lot of that is down to the relationship with her mentor.”
The program encourages meetings outside the school to improve the student’s connection to school and community which improves graduation rates, enhances their self-esteem and self-worth, and increases positive relationships, hopefully, for the rest of their life. Len invited Mae and her family to the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts movies, where Len works, and he attended her birthday party, dance recital and school talent show. Over the year their relationship has brought Mae out of her shell. She is a positive, outgoing young lady. Mae is now in middle school, still meeting Len and expanding her opportunities – thanks to her relationship with Len and the Chautauqua Striders program.
“Mentoring has been so good for me,” Mae added, “I am so much happier now…my favorite part of mentoring is walking down the corridor and seeing Len.” I would bet good money that Len feels the same way. Thanks giving comes in more ways than a one day turkey-focused dinner. I encourage you to give thanks for your blessings throughout the year.
To learn more about the Chautauqua Striders Mentoring program which are in all County school systems: Elementary & Middle School Mentoring Coordinator: Richard Walter 716.579.8156 email: email@example.com
High School Mentoring Coordinator: Yanira Castellano 716.450.1567 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The program is school Based – a once-a-week meeting during alunch or a free period for a minimum of 2 hours a month Community Based – regular meetings after school or on weekends for 4 hours or more a month Project Based – a once-a-week meeting for 1 1/2 hours after school to engage in activities, spend time one-on-one, and build relationships
The goal of Chautauqua Striders’ Mentoring Program is to improve youth’s connection to school and community, improve graduation rates, enhance self-esteem and self-worth, and increase positive relationships for students in grades 2-12.