Jenessa and Isabel a match made in the middle of COVID-19.
CMC met Isabel as a part of our school-based program at Van Buren schools. Isabel transition from our in-person school sessions in March of 2020 to our virtual school sessions. This was her second year in our school program. Isabel’s mom was interested in a match outside of the school program. She applied to be a part of our community program as well. Due to Covid-19 our Community program mentor/mentee matches were also only meeting virtually. CMC had never before made a match only in a virtual format for the community-based program. Once Isabel was approved and presented to her mentor for a match, both her mentor Jenessa and Isabel and her family did not want to wait until guidelines would allow them to be face-to-face before they could meet each other. They are one of our first Community matches that begun through a Zoom meeting!
They started getting to know each other over the phone. As restrictions began to lessen Jenessa would go to Isabel’s house and they played cards outside in the driveway. Isabel would make cards for Jenessa, and then she made Isabel a little change purse. Eventually, things continued to improve and they were able to finally do some additional activities in the community. A few of the things they have done together is to go to Olive Garden for dinner, Painters Pottery where they were both able to paint some unique pieces of pottery, and Jenessa got her a cute stuffed flamingo! 2020 has been a time of change and adjustments for our matches but the value of being connected with another person to share, experiences, thoughts dreams, and goals are more important than ever.
Jacob and Mel – Taking time to build their mentoring story.
Jacob and Mel have been matched since May of 2019. When they were first matched together, Mel was only 6 years old and was shy and unsure if he wanted to leave his mom and go anywhere with this new person. Jacob could see his hesitation, so they stayed at Mel’s house and played with his toys for a while, ultimately ending the evening getting ice cream! Mel’s mom texted Jacob after the visit and said he is excited about the next time they can get together! Over the past year and a half, they’ve played basketball at the YMCA, played at area parks, made supper together, and walked Jacob’s dogs. They also ride bikes all over, and have discovered they both enjoy Painter’s Pottery! I think Jacob’s own words say it all, “It’s been great times.”
Kristina and Harley transitioned from CMC school-based to our community-based program
Kristina and Harley met in the CMC School-based program at Donnell when Harley was in the 8th grade at Donnell Middle School. They were matched at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year and had great conversations. Soon they found out they have a lot in common. Towards the end of the school year, they were not ready for their match to end. Their Case Case Manager, Danielle, spoke with Harley’s mom and let her know there was a way for their match to continue through another one of our programs. They chose to become part of our community program when Harley was starting high school. They officially became part of our community program on 6/3/2019. Kristina and Harley are pretty much inseparable. Kristina has introduced Harley to her extended family, and they all have accepted her as another family member. They like to bake together, go shopping, or just sit down on the couch and watch TV together. Kristina has been through many milestones with Harley already, getting her ready for her first homecoming and helping her apply for her first job. They have a wonderful relationship and talk about everything together! This match is what the program is about!
Andy Smyth PALS Mentor
Andy has been a part of our PALS program for over 25 years. He is a perfect example of an adult finding time to mentor around their day-to-day life commitments. Andy is the University of Findlay Men’s Soccer Coach. He is busy mentoring and coaching his student-athletes during the season, not leaving a great deal of extra time to volunteer. However, during the offseason, his schedule is a little lighter, and he reaches out to our Case Managers to start taking kids on various outings. A few examples are trips to Shady Grove for Putt-putt, going to the movie theater, and going out to eat. Because Andy works at UF, he also can expose the kids to what they could do as college students and think broadly about the opportunities in life that lie ahead of them. He has taken kids to various sports camps offered at the university. Each fall, he dedicates one home Soccer game to CMC. The kids at CMC have a chance to participate in a mini pre-game clinic, walk over to the team bench, escort the team onto the field as the players are announced, and then watch the game sitting with the Junior Varsity team. The kids learn a bit more about the game of soccer. Participating in this event allows our kids to meet student-athletes from around the world, exposing them to global opportunities.
Consider being a part of our PALS program. You will take children on outings who are waiting for a match in our community program. This gives them an opportunity to be involved while they are waiting. As a PAL you will interact with different children based on your schedule.
Pat and Lauren paying it forward and making a difference together.
Statistics show that 90% of individuals who had a mentor as a young person will go on to volunteer. Many of our matches spend time giving back to others in Hancock County as a part of their match activities. Lauren and Pat are a shining example of one of these matches.
Pat and Lauren met in our Glenwood one-to-one school mentoring program. Lauren was in the 8th grade. Throughout their time together, their relationship grew and they became closer. Like Kristina and Harley, Pat and Lauren wanted to continue their match in our community program. They have been matched since March of 2019 and enjoy doing various things together. Some of those things include going on lots of trips to the public library, walking and talking at the park/mall, visiting Jeffrey’s Antiques, going to the movies. A fun fact about Lauren and Pat is that they both enjoy reading Little Women!
As mentioned Pat and Lauren met through our school-based program. As Lauren was talking with Pat and her Case Manager Becky a couple of years ago they talked about ways Lauren could help out and volunteer. Lauren began to help as an aid in our Jacobs school program. It wasn’t long before Lauren was mentoring a 2nd grader at Jacobs school. Pat was also volunteering at Jacobs and mentoring other children. Pat’s impact of mentoring one child turned into impacting 4 children! The picture on the left is Lauren and her mentee playing the game of Life together! Lauren and Pat say it best…”Having a mentor is wonderful”… “Being a mentor is Fantastic”. Lauren has been able to continue to have Pat as her mentor and supportive person in her life as well as sharing her time and support with her mentee. Lauren is an incredible example showing you do not need to be an adult to truly make a difference in the life of a child. We encourage you to follow their examples and make a difference and start today!
Dwight & Symeon
Dwight and Symeon share a love of the outdoors.
Common interests help to build strong bonds.
Dwight is a beekeeper, an archer and all around outdoor enthusiast. He has been matched with a few different boys over the years, but he has been with his current mentee for 6 months. Symeon is 12 years old and enjoys being active and learning new skills. In fact, Dwight and Symeon met at CMC’s Camp Beck day where mentors and pals share a day of outdoor activities with children in our program. Symeon and Dwight are a great match!
Symeon’s mom was as delighted as Symeon to learn that Dwight is a beekeeper. Symeon’s grandpa kept bees for years and it was something the family really enjoyed. In a way Dwight is helping to keep a family tradition alive for Symeon by teaching him about bees. The two share so many interests, they never run out of things to talk about. Symeon’s mom even said, “If you have met Dwight, you have met my son!”
Together they’ve built 16 squirrel feeders since the fall, and Symeon has made $160 by selling them! At some point during this time, he needed 6 more feeders made so he said to Dwight, “Can you go ahead and make them for me?” Well, the answer was no. Dwight explained to him that this was a team project and they needed to make them together!
Since then, the squirrel feeders have been made and now they are moving onto bird feeders. Symeon has an order for 3 so far! He’s even having fun cleaning out bird houses and getting them ready for the spring.
A national study has demonstrated that children matched with a mentor are more likely to have better school attendance, avoid the use of illegal drugs and avoid violent behavior. Children’s Mentoring Connection recruits and screens caring adults so that we can help many more Hancock County youth just like Deontae’. Mentoring is important because many children do not have consistent contact with both their parents or perhaps, are being raised by grandparents or great grandparents. It means a lot to the children to know their mentor has chosen them and is committed to spending time with them. Mentoring makes a difference!
Melissa & Stephanie
CMC Match Fosters Family-Style Closeness
Melissa and her “little sister” of 11 years even look a little alike.
The match is so close that Melissa is No. 6 on Stephanie’s speed dial, perpetually at the ready for dispensing elder-sibling-type advice on boyfriends, school, parents, jobs and the importance of college.
Melissa recalled her first meeting with Stephanie, then a shy 6-year-old who had recently lost her dad and moved to a new town. The pair eyed each other over burgers at McDonald’s on Trenton Avenue, both deciding quickly that they’d found a new friend. Stephanie said she immediately gravitated toward Melissa but worried that Melissa might not like her. Her fears were totally unfounded, as it turned out: Melissa said she immediately took to the first-grader, then a pint-sized Melissa Gilbert look-alike, and thought she was just “so cute.”
The relationship flourished over the next 11 years as each young woman moved through various life changes. Melissa dated, married and helped raise stepchildren, Stephanie moved from grade to grade at school, played soccer and basketball, dated and began narrowing career choices.
Throughout that time, the pair spent hours together in person each month and additional hours on the phone, sharing the important minutiae of their lives. Sometimes, Friday evenings were spent just hanging out at Melissa’s house, eating a meal and watching a movie. Other times, they went shopping, to family gatherings, to Cleveland Indians or Browns games, or joined other mentors and their “littles” for bowling or roller skating parties.
By now, “she’s like a second parent to me,” Stephanie said of Melissa. “She’s been such a big part of my life. She taught me right from wrong, and things like being dependable – she’s always there for me when I call, no matter what the problem is.”
For her part, Melissa said she felt equally attached to Stephanie.
“Even if the (Children’s Mentoring Connection) program went away, we’d still be friends,” Melissa said. “She’s like family to me.”
Kevin & Tommy
“It is a very rewarding experience and a great way to make a difference in a young child’s life. It is also a unique opportunity to contribute your time and effort to a great cause and give back to our community.
Being a CMC mentor has been everything I expected and more. As a big brother, I have learned firsthand the difference that a mentor can make not only in someone else’s life, but also my own.”