Two residents from Shelburne and a resident of Hinesburg and are leading Mobius’ “U and I are Mentors” recruitment campaign from May 17 through Aug. 17. Shelburne residents Mint Dole and Toby Knox, along with Mike Loner of Hinesburg, all serve on the Mobius Board of Directors and are representing the Everybody Wins! Vermont (EW! VT) program as Mentor Ambassadors during the campaign. They are part of a group of 23 Ambassadors from seven Chittenden and Grand Isle mentoring programs who are using their mentoring experiences to recruit friends, family members, and colleagues to become mentors.
Dole, a retired resident of Shelburne, is a reading mentor through the EW! VT program at Shelburne Community School. He is grateful for the opportunity to give back to a child in his town, and help one young person “cope with growing up in a tough world,” but is concerned for the many other children who are without mentors. “One child and one mentor is a drop in the bucket,” said Dole. “It takes many drops to fill the pail.”
Knox, a fellow Shelburne resident and president of Toby Knox & Associates, also mentors at the Shelburne Community School. He strongly believes in the power of mentoring, and stresses that anyone who wants to help a child can be a successful mentor. “There is no higher calling than mentoring,” said Knox. “But it’s not hard work, and it’s very satisfying and rewarding, both for the child and for the mentor.”
Loner is involved with the mentoring community both as the Executive Director of the DREAM program, which pairs college students with kids from public housing developments throughout Vermont, and as an EW! VT reading mentor at JFK Elementary in Winooski. He sees mentoring as a key component in closing the education gap for children living in poverty.
“Children living in poverty-stricken families and neighborhoods are 40 percent to 70 percent less likely to graduate from high school than their more affluent peers,” said Loner. “More alarming, only 9 percent of low-income youth eventually graduate from a four-year college. I have chosen to become a Mentor Ambassador because I have seen first-hand how a mentor can positively alter the life of a child, improve his or her attitude toward education, and help build aspirations for a successful future.”
Supplementing the Mentor Ambassadors’ recruitment efforts, Mobius has also released short videos of three local mentor pairs, which can be found on the Mobius website: www.mobiusmentors.org. These videos feature: Boys and Girls Club mentor Mark Redmond and his mentee Sharmarke; King Street mentor pair Sarah Soule and Makayla; and Connecting Youth mentor pair Sam Messer and Ricky.
The “U and I are Mentors” campaign utilizes research commissioned by Mobius, and creative work donated by Sp!ke Advertising to target potential mentors, especially men. This initiative was made possible by a grant from Jane’s Trust.
Mobius partners with mentoring programs in Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties and is a local state affiliate of The National Mentoring Partnership. To learn more about how to become a mentor or support the local mentoring movement, call Marissa Strayer-Benton at 658-1888 or visit www.mobiusmentors.org.