Celebrating Vermont Youth and Their Mentors in Montpelier

February 5, 2020 MENTOR Vermont, Mentoring Celebration, Mentoring Events, National Mentoring Month, Vermont Ambassadors of Mentoring

On January 22, MENTOR Vermont hosted nearly 200 youth mentees, volunteer mentors, and mentoring supporters from around the state for our annual Youth Mentoring Celebration at the Statehouse in Montpelier. This free event marked the culmination of National Mentoring Month festivities in Vermont, and featured:

  • The signing of a Mentoring Month proclamation by Governor Phil Scott
  • Presentation of the 2020 Ambassadors of Mentoring Awards by Comcast (read more about this year’s honorees here)
  • The reading of a Mentoring Day resolution and recognition on the House floor led by Representative Kate Webb (Chittenden-5-1)

Youth and their mentors participated in open activities throughout the morning (including button making, a photo booth, and open mic time to talk about why mentoring was important to them) and had the opportunity to have lunch with their local state legislators, before heading over to the Statehouse for the resolution and recognition in the House and free tours of the Statehouse. For a full overview of the day’s events, read the VTDigger recap article.

Mentors and mentees traveled to the event from as far north as Grand Isle, and as far south as Bennington, but the largest group came from the Mount Abraham Unified School District–more than 60 people from five different schools.

One of the MAUSD pairs, Zandra Cousino and Valkyrja from the Monkton Mentors program at Monkton Central School, were honored at the event by Comcast as “Ambassadors of Mentoring.” These new awards replaced the MENTOR of the Year Award, with the goal of highlighting a wider range of mentoring stories with the public and celebrating youth mentees for the leadership role they play in expanding the reach of mentoring programs in Vermont. Ambassador honorees were called up to the podium as mentor pairs, and were recognized for their service by Dennis Mathew, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Western New England Region.

“We’re extremely proud to join MENTOR Vermont in recognizing these incredible mentor and mentee teams from across the Green Mountain State,” said Dennis.

The full list of Ambassadors and their mentoring programs is as follows: Angelique Parks and Darcie (Mentoring at United Counseling Service); Bonnie Ferro and Kada (King Street Center’s Junior Senior Buddies); Carolyn Grodinsky & Lillian (Girls/Boyz First Mentoring); Dorothy Sacca and Charlie (Grand Isle County Mentoring); Evan Leontis and Dylan (The Collaborative); Laura Page and Kadence (Windsor County Mentors); Lisa Rees and Ohana (Milton Mentors, Milton Community Youth Coalition); Nathaniel Klein and Tanner (Middlebury College Community Friends); Terri Weinstein and Tori (Twinfield Together Mentoring); and Zandra Cousino and Valkyrja (Monkton Mentors, Mt. Abraham Unified School District). Read the full nominations for each of the honored mentor matches, and enter a free raffle for prizes that ends on Sunday, February 9 by visiting the Ambassadors of Mentoring webpage.

“With the understanding that every mentoring relationship is unique, it was inspiring to be in a room full of mentors and mentees from around the state echoing just how important and special these relationships are,” said Bonnie.

“The gathering was a reminder that we all make a difference in someone else’s life, and they in turn make a difference in ours,” said Terri. “It’s the little things that make the biggest difference–kindness, caring and the gift of our time. We all have these to offer youth in our community and receive so much more in return.”
“Charlie said that his favorite part of the day was watching the Legislature at the Statehouse,” said Dorothy. “I enjoyed spending time with other mentors and mentees from around the state and hearing their stories.”
“Ohana is a history buff and she reported that the Statehouse tour was her favorite part of the day,” said Amy Spector, coordinator of Milton Mentors. “At the end of the day, Lisa shared that the experience was something that she and Ohana will remember forever!”
Other mentoring programs that brought groups of mentors and mentees to the event included the DREAM Program, WEmentors, and Cabot Mentoring.
“Having a special day set aside in Montpelier is a lovely thank you to both mentors and mentees,” said Susan Socks from Cabot Mentoring. “It was fun to be in the company of so many caring adults and happy youth, and it made me grateful to be involved in mentoring.”
Want to learn more about this year’s Mentoring Celebration? Check out our Facebook album about the event or visit our National Mentoring Month webpage.
We are grateful to all of our generous Vermont Mentoring Month business supporters who helped make this event possible and free for mentors and mentees to attend:

Ambassadors of Mentoring Sponsor:

Statehouse Celebration Sponsors:

Vermont Mentoring Month Sponsors:

Mentoring Supporter Sponsors:

Additional Support From:

Forest Park Realty/O’Brien Brothers

Tamarack Media

Union Mutual of Vermont