Mary Director's Message
 
Dear Friends of DSABC:

It has been said, "  Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life". I can honestly say that these past eleven years I have been most fortunate to live this sentiment. So it is with with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation as Director of Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative. I've accepted a position as Philanthropy Officer with Ability Beyond.

It has been my absolute honor and privilege serving as the Director of DSABC for the past eleven years. To have been given the opportunity to lead such a committed group of volunteers and to have the joy of watching the mentor relationships nurture and grow over years has been an experience that I will truly cherish for a lifetime.  I deeply value the professional relationships with Danbury Public Schools staff, Board of Education, Business partners and community members that I've been fortunate to develop over my tenure. Together, we have collectively accomplished great work, making a difference in the lives of the students and community we serve. 

On behalf of the DSABC Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Ellen Vogt Meyst has been hired as the new Executive Director.  Ellen has worked with me at DSABC for over six years. She is passionate about continuing and growing DSABC mentoring programs and brings a wide array of talents, skills, and experience to the position. Many of you have had the pleasure of working with Ellen over the years and I know you will continue to enjoy working with Ellen in her new role. 

Thank you again for making coming to work such a joy these past eleven years. I hope our paths cross again in the future. 

Sincerely, 
 
Mary
Mary Arconti Gregory
DSABC Director


FC GIVES DAY IS MARCH 9 
It's that time of year again....time to do something big  to support DSABC in Fairfield County Community Foundation's annual FC GIVES, on Thursday, March 9th. Giving Day starts March 9th at 12 am and ends at 11:59 pm. This exciting, competitive 24 hour online event will be successful for Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative with your help. 

To continue our mission of helping Danbury Public School students achieve personal and academic success through school based mentoring, we have set a goal to raise $8,000 during Giving Day. Your gift will not only help us reach our goal, but it may put us over the edge for additional grant prizes! 
 
 Here are 3 easy ways you can help us, right now!
 
1. Go to this link to give to DSABC  and make a donation.
2. Forward this email to 5 friends and encourage them to join you and give!
3. Go to our Facebook and Twitter pages and "share" and "retweet" our messages to your network!

WELCOME NEW MENTORS Welcome

One-on-One Mentoring Program
Jeanne Blekis
Cartus
Maggi Heilweil
Independent
Juliana Rodrigues
Cartus
James Hopper
Independent
Tyler Bergemann
City of Danbury, Fire Department
Grace Robles
Independent
Hans Guardado
Danbury Public Schools
KJ Wien
Independent
David Weinstein
Union Savings Bank
Rachelle Engelman
Independent
Josephine Moran
Wells Fargo
John Iommazzo
Independent
Workplace Learning E-Mentors
Boehringer Ingelheim
Pitney Bowes
Jennifer Ahlberg
James Flood
 
William House
City of Danbury
Jermaine Jennings
Taylor O'Brien
Michael LaPerch
 
Samuel Roberts
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Robert Smith
Sarah Gager
 
Union Savings Bank
Western Ct. Health Network
Jennifer Tomaino
Miles McIvor
Jessica Umbarger
THANKS TO OUR DONORS

Individual
Company
Grant
Elisabeth Booth Barton
Boehringer Ingelheim
Fairfield County Community Foundation
Rick Hoddinott
Pitney Bowes
Governors Prevention Partnership
Barbara Stauder
Praxair
 
Union Savings Bank
UTC Aerospace

SPOTLIGHT ON MENTORING WITH
BOEHRINGER-INGELHEIM
by Robin Provey
 
Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC), a school-based mentoring program, is one of the many community outreach programs that partners with Boehringer-Ingelheim.   DSABC mentors are recruited from local businesses and the community to serve as positive adult role models to students who could benefit from a one-on-one relationship. Mentors meet with their mentees once a week to work with the student at school, during the school day, for a minimum of one school year. The objective of the program is to improve academic performance, attendance, behavior, attitude toward school, and most importantly, self-esteem. The long-range goal is dropout prevention.
The DSABC mentor is a friend and positive role model. Mentors spend time with their mentees engaged in activities such as reading, playing games, helping with homework, or just talking, listening, and sharing experiences. The mentor works with the teacher and school staff to provide extra support and encouragement to help the student achieve his/her potential.
The BI Ridgefield campus currently has 20 mentors and 3 e-mentors and we invite you to join the DSABC/BI partnership.  Mentoring is beneficial for both the student and the adult.  Below are quotes from some of our mentors.

Danielle Brodeur (Account Finance Dept/has been a mentor for 3yrs):
"Mentoring has filled a piece of my heart that is unexplainable."
Elli Scarfi (Account Finance Dept/has been a mentor for 1yr):
 "I started mentoring this year and I absolutely love it. For any of you who are thinking about mentoring, I highly suggest it. BI fully supports us doing this and touching children's lives."
Kelley Troccolo (HR Dept/has been a mentor for 5yrs):
"I've been with my same mentee for 5 years now and I've noticed that she continues to open up more and more each year. A couple of weeks ago, she made me really happy...she said to me "I was so excited when I got paged because I knew it meant you were here to mentor with me" and I just hugged her. It made the rest of my day great."
Ken Decker (Account Finance Dept/has been a mentor for 6yrs):
 "It's very enjoyable to make a difference in these young people's lives. To see their faces light up when you arrive in the morning is very rewarding and when you get to see progress in the child it's even better."
Tara Stevenson (Imm. &Resp. Dept/has been a mentor for 6months):   "We talk about stuff from his problems to his homework to what his favorite subject is and his favorite subject is actually science, so next time we're making slime together.  A
nd it's exciting for me to see him, it makes me smile and it makes the day better."
Tom Wieckowski (Imm. &Resp. Dept /has been a mentor for 4yrs):  "You wouldn't think that meeting with a kid in 4 th grade would change your mood, but it really does... I like to think that we feed off each other in helping each other's lives."
Shannon Rountos (Comm. &Public Affairs Dept /mentored for several years and is now an E-mentor):
"It's a really rewarding experience, but it doesn't feel like work. I walk away feeling like I was able to help someone by sharing my perspective, point of view and experiences, but I always learned so much more from them. I don't think they realize that at all. I don't think they understand the value they're providing in return by simply being there by participating and engaging with us, adult mentors... It's just so mutually reciprocating that everybody ends up winning. "
 
To find out more on how to get involved in DSABC and making a positive impact within our BI community, please contact adedayo.hanidu@boehringer-ingelheim.com
DSABC THANK-YOU LUNCHEON CELEBRATES CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITY
Mentors talk about making connections 
by Robin Provey
  
This year's Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) annual luncheon was about thanking mentors for their dedication over the past year as mentors shared their challenges and joys.
Twenty four mentors attended the event held at Cartus Corporation on Jan. 31. Keynote speaker Dr. Deneen Harris, professor and chair of the Department of Social Work at Western Connecticut State University, discussed "Mentoring and Multiculturalism." The Danbury school district has a diverse population with more than 40 languages spoken at the high school.
"It takes more work to work cross-culturally," Harris told her audience. "It's not impossible, but it may be more challenging."
Harris said it's not necessary to be the same race ethnicity to have an effective mentor-mentee relationship.
"It's more important to connect through hobbies and activities," Harris said. "Be sure that you work to connect to the mentee's interests."
Harris said that sometimes students may have a cultural mistrust because of discrimination or poor treatment, and it may be impacted by what they see in the media.
"Sometimes kids may be hesitant to talk about a topic if they think we are uncomfortable," Harris said. "You have to fight against this by telling them you are uncomfortable but it's important to talk about. Try your best to work through those issues."
Harris also told the mentors that just the fact that they are in the students' lives is important and that they don't always have to have the right answers for students. Sometimes they can help the student just by pointing them to other resources, such as teachers or tutors for academic help.
"Don't underestimate the value of your relationship with these kids," she said. "The mentee needs to feel that you care about them: 'I am vested in your learning.'"
Mentor Carl Zinn of Belimo Air Controls said he worked to find the commonality with his student and did so through the card game, Uno. He said it wasn't always easy to get the student to open up, but his persistence and dedication paid off.
"Just keep talking and talking and talking. Eventually they talk back," Zinn said.
For more information on mentoring or becoming a mentor, contact DSABC
(203) 797-4845 or contact@dsabcmentors.org


Dr. Deneen Harris, Professor of Social Work at Western Ct. State University presenting on "Multiculturalism and Mentoring"




DSABC Mentor: 'It's enhanced my life'
Mentor builds confidence in teen
by Robin Provey
 
When Ben Ritchie was in third grade, he tended to get in trouble when he got angry. So his resource teacher recommended that he have someone work with him outside of class. That's when DSABC mentor Keith Wolff walked into Ben's life.
Despite getting the cold shoulder as Ben played with Legos, Wolff continued to show up every week at Shelter Rock School. It look a month before Ben realized that Wolff wasn't going away. Then he started to like the attention and started to like Wolff because "he's funny."
Eight years later, the two are clearly lifelong friends. Ben, a junior studying plumbing at Henry Abbott Technical High School meets once a week with Wolff. Wolff and his wife have lived in Brookfield for 30 years and have two children and two grandchildren. He originally started as a literacy volunteer at Shelter Rock 11 years ago.
"I'm caregiving and I wanted to do something with social value and thought this would be a really good fit," said Wolff of the mentoring.
DSABC mentors are recruited from local businesses and the community to serve as positive adult role models to students who could benefit from a one-on-one relationship. Mentors meet with their mentees each week to work with the student at school, during the school day, for a minimum of one school year. The objective of the program is to improve academic performance, attendance, behavior, attitude toward school, and most importantly, self-esteem. The long-range goal is dropout prevention.
 
Wolff said his initial meeting with Ben eight years ago was a little rough: "He was little standoffish,"
"I ignored him," Ben said with a smile. The Legos were a connecting point and the two have come a long way since that initial encounter. Ben respects Wolff and Wolff respects Ben.
The two have advanced from Legos to Chess and even analyze the stock market. They have talked about Ben's interest in pursuing a career in civil engineering.
"Ben has come a long way," Wolff said. "He's mature. He's really bright and he does well in school."
Wolff said there was never a specific goal to their meetings, rather it was an opportunity for Ben to have an adult to talk with who could guide him into a good direction. The two have discussed how to handle emotions in tough situations, challenges of school, and even career goals.
The DSABC mentor is a friend and positive role model. Mentors spend time with their mentees engaged in activities such as reading, playing games, helping with homework, or just talking, listening, and sharing experiences. The mentor works with the teacher and school staff to provide extra support and encouragement to help the student achieve his/her potential.
 
"It's fluid as to how the relationship develops. You look at the child's needs," Wolff said. "It goes to being there as a non-judgmental friend. I try to give Ben the confidence he can say and be anything he wants."
Ben said the relationship has changed his life.
"I don't have anger issues anymore," Ben said. He's stayed out of trouble at school and learned to enjoy reading more.
Wolff said he thinks the program has made a lasting impact on him too.
"It's enhanced my life," he said. "I found more value to what I do because it grounds me. You sometimes forget what's important. I look forward to seeing Ben, and I enjoy impacting his life in a positive way.
"It's like being a parent," Wolff said. "It's a rewarding experience. We're always going to be friends."
For more information on DSABC events or to become a mentor, go to www.dsabcmentors.org .
City of Danbury Fire Chief_ TJ Wiedl with DSABC Director_ Mary Arconti Gregory at recruitment event
DSABC holds recruitment event at Danbury Fire Department
Fire chief served as mentor for 10 years
by Robin Provey

As someone who knows the value of making a commitment to helping others, Danbury Fire Chief T.J. Wiedl also knows firsthand that being a mentor is one of life's most rewarding experiences. After 10 years of mentoring, he's ready to pass the baton to his staff.
On Jan. 23 and 26, Wiedl and Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) Director Mary Gregory spoke with 100 firefighters about the rewards of mentoring.
"I have gotten favorable feedback so far," said Wiedl. "I'm reaching out to retired firefighters as well."
Wiedl began mentoring a third-grade student 10 years ago. Every week, he spent an hour with the student until that student graduated from high school. Now in college, the student and Wiedl have remained friends.
"It was much better for me than him," Wiedl said with a chuckle. "He got somebody to depend on. If I didn't show up, he let me know about it. And now he's going to do great things."
Although the firefighters work on a rotating shift, DSABC is willing to work with their schedules if they commit to mentoring regularly once day a week.
The success of the mentoring program is dependent on volunteers. There is currently a waitlist for students seeking mentors in the two school-based programs. In the "One-on-One" mentoring program, there are more than 50 students on the waitlist with a need for 12 male mentors to work with high school boys. There is a need for 45 mentors in the "Workplace Learning E-Mentoring."
 
For more information or to become a mentor, contact DSABC at (203) 797-4845.
Calendar
IMPORTANT DATES
Be sure to check the school calendar for any events that may impact your scheduled mentoring time

Danbury Public Schools
http://www.danbury.k12.ct.us/dhsweb/main/district%20calendar.pdf

Henry Abbott Tech
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7HrrR90UecRE5iekRuNzcwclE/view
MENTOR TRAINING  smiling-computer-ladies.jpg
 

Is your mentee moving up to middle or high school? Not sure what to expect during this transition? Click here to view DSABC recent webinar: 


 

Mentoring in Middle & High School: What to Expect When Your Mentee Transitions

We want to hear from YOU!
In order to make our newsletter as relevant and interesting as possible, we need your input for future publications.  Email contributions to  kbheering@sbcglobal.net
  
Kathi Barese Heering, Editor
 

 

 

 

The  Mission of DSABC is to Help Danbury Public School Students Achieve Personal and Academic Success.

 

Our Tool: School Based Mentoring

 

DSABC is a 501 (c) 3 Charitable Organization. Please consider supporting our programs.