2018 Mentoring Celebration at the Capitol Plaza and Vermont StatehouseFebruary 26, 2018 Advocacy, Mentor Recruitment, Mentoring Celebration, Mentoring Events, Mobius, National Mentoring Month
Each January, during National Mentoring Month, Mobius hosts an event that convenes mentors, mentees, mentoring program staff, legislators, and mentoring supporters across Vermont to honor volunteer mentors for their service and raise awareness of the importance of mentoring. This year’s Mentoring Celebration was held January 31, acting as a lovely wrap-up to National Mentoring Month 2018.
The morning portion of the event began at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier, with Eric Hoekstra of Redstone (our Lead Statehouse Event sponsor for the fourth straight year) introducing Governor Phil Scott. The Governor talked about his experience with his mentors, before signing an official proclamation marking January as Mentoring Month in Vermont. After speaking, he walked around the room to meet youth mentees who shared why having a mentor has made a difference to them.
The morning also featured (for the third straight year) Comcast’s presentation of the Vermont Mentor of the Year Award. Dan Glanville, vice president of Government, Regulatory and Community Affairs of Comcast’s Western New England region, presented the 2018 award to Jim Hyde, a Connecting Youth mentor at Charlotte Central School and CVU. Upon accepting the award, Hyde said to everyone in attendance: “I’m a little embarrassed to be singled out for this award when there are so many wonderful mentors both in the room and throughout Vermont. I would like to accept this award on behalf of all the adults who volunteer their time as mentors throughout the state.”
Other highlights from the morning included a civics lesson by Lt. Governor Dave Zuckerman, an interactive performance by Vermont legend Jon Gailmor, and some hands on activities such as designing posters and a button making station. We also had a photo-booth corner for mentors, mentees, and supporters to get their pictures taken.
Our number of attendees nearly doubled this year, going from 90 to around 170! It was amazing to see so many kids there, and to see the number of programs well represented. Fortunately, the Vermont History Museum let us use one of their rooms for lunch, which was a huge help because it was mighty crowded in the Statehouse cafeteria. After lunch, everyone collected in the House Chambers, where our group packed the balcony to hear Representative Kathryn Webb read the Mentoring Month resolution.Following the resolution, the day concluded with tours of the Statehouse for those who wanted one.
As MENTOR Vermont’s 2017-2018 AmeriCorps VISTA, this was my first time planning and attending this event. This event was an example of the many benefits to doing a year of service. Through planning this event, I gained experience in learning how to fundraise and request sponsorships, as well as develop some graphic design skills. I was joined by another VISTA, Aphaia Lambert-Harper, who kindly volunteered to help with taking photos all day. Aphaia and I both serve through the Vermont Youth Tomorrow VISTA program, coordinated by the Washington County Youth Services Bureau. Our lead photographer, Lindsay Miller, also volunteered her time to help out at the event. We are also grateful to MENTOR Vermont Board members/mentoring coordinators for helping out with the registration and photo booth (Gabriella Tufo Strouse, King Street Center), and the button making station (Pam Quinn, Twinfield Together Mentoring).
This event was a wonderful opportunity for mentors and mentees from across the state to interact, while also raising awareness of the importance of mentoring. We brought on a significant number of new businesses as sponsors this year, and were able to really make this event a success. I gained so much by being a part of planning and coordinating this event, and I am looking forward to being a part of all that Mobius does for youth mentoring in Vermont for the remainder of my service year.