Wed, 01/27/2016 – 12:19pm
Mobius hosted its annual Mentoring Celebration at the Vermont Statehouse on Thursday, January 14. Nearly 100 adult volunteer mentors, youth mentees, program staff and supporters from across the state gathered together to officially recognize January 2016 as Mentoring Month in Vermont. The celebration was made possible through funding support from lead sponsor Redstone Commercial Group, and other local business sponsors.
This year’s celebration featured Comcast’s presentation of the Vermont Mentor of the Year Award to Bob Wheel, a resident of South Burlington and a mentor through Spectrum Youth and Family Services. The event also included remarks by 2016 Vermont Mentoring Month Spokesperson Michael Schirling, Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, and Katarina Lisaius, outreach representative from the Office of Senator Bernie Sanders.
“It truly was an honor to be awarded the Comcast “Mentor of the Year” award,” said Wheel. “I prefer to think of the award as “Mentor Pair of the Year,” as the success of the mentoring partnership that Ryan and I enjoy certainly belongs to my mentee as much as it belongs to me, if not more so. And as Ryan’s mom put it, congratulations to all of Vermont’s mentors, for in her opinion we are all winners.”
Sarvesh Sharma, a 13-year-old mentee through the Girls/Boyz First mentoring program, read aloud a proclamation from the Governor recognizing January as Mentoring Month in Vermont. Later in the afternoon, Representative Leigh Dakin (Windsor-3-1) of the Vermont House of Representatives led the reading of a resolution approved by the House and Senate also marking January as Mentoring Month.
Schirling and the other participating legislators and supporters publicly recognized the adult mentors, youth mentees, and mentoring supporters in attendance, as well as the year-round service of the more than 140 mentoring programs and 2,300 volunteer mentors throughout the state. Mentors and mentees were also treated to lunch in the statehouse cafeteria, and complimentary tours of the Vermont Statehouse.
In addition to this event, Mobius and mentoring programs around the state are organizing a wide variety of activities throughout the month of January to promote the mentoring cause, including mentor recognition events, mentor pair activities, and benefit dinners at local restaurants.
Mobius’ 2016 Vermont Mentoring Month campaign is made possible through the continued support of Lead Sponsor Redstone Commercial Group and Mentor of the Year/Media Sponsor Comcast/NBC Universal, Statehouse Celebration Sponsors KeyBank, Green Mountain Power, and Cabot Creamery Cooperative, as well as Vermont Mentoring Month Sponsors Heritage Aviation, Local Muscle Moving, Hunger Mountain Coop, 802Cars.Com, and New England Federal Credit Union.
The theme of the 2016 National Mentoring Month campaign is “Mentor In Real Life,” which encourages mentoring supporters and mentors to talk about the real-life benefits of mentoring. Nationally, the campaign is spearheaded by the Harvard School of Public Health, and MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership), with support from the Highland Street Foundation.
About Mentoring: According to the “Mentoring Effect,” a study released in 2014 by MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership), one in three youth in Vermont will enter adulthood without having a formal or informal mentoring relationship with a caring adult. Based on an abundance of national research, having a mentor can enhance a young person’s learning skills and help him or her build resiliency and pro-social skills. Youth with mentors are less likely to engage in risky behavior with drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and to grow up to become productive members of society.
About Mobius: Now in its fourth year as Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership, Mobius supports more than 140 adult-to-youth mentoring program sites that serve 2,300 mentor pairs throughout the state. In addition to spearheading the Vermont Mentoring Month campaign, Mobius also provides grant funding to mentoring programs (around $340,000 for the 2015-2016 grant year), offers technical support to program staff, maintains an online program directory and referral system for volunteers, manages a quality-based program management database, and works with programs to lead other statewide mentoring initiatives. For more information about Mobius, and mentoring programs and initiatives in Vermont, visit www.mobiusmentors.org(link is external).
South Burlington resident Bob Wheel (center), a mentor through Spectrum Youth and Family Services, was honored as the 2016 Vermont Mentor of the Year by Comcast V.P. of Government and Regulatory Affairs John Sutich. Wheel was joined on stage by his 16-year-old mentee Ryan Wallace.