N E W S L E T T E R        S pring 2018

Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

Spring is finally here! Throughout the long winter, DSABC mentors have continued to connect with Danbury Public School students while supporters have been actively participating in our fundraising efforts and helping to raise awareness about our programs. Due to numerous weather cancellations, the 2017-18 Danbury Public School year will close on June 28th so there is still plenty of time to mentor.  Please note that standardized testing will be taking place in the elementary and middle schools in the upcoming weeks along with end-of-year field trips. Please check in regularly with school liaisons to confirm mentoring sessions. 
DSABC is excited to continue our collaboration with the Danbury Early College Opportunity (DECO) and help support their internship program. We are grateful to the area businesses and community organizations, including Dream House Realty, AcquireWeb, Benay Enterprises and United Way, that have hired DECO students and offered them a variety of unique opportunities to use their skills. The feedback from employers has been tremendously positive - kudos to these hard-working and talented students! We are still seeking to place additional students so if your company or organization is interested in hiring an intern, please contact us. 
By way of update and a sneak peek for what's ahead next year, DSABC recently concluded a six-month engagement with a team from the Harvard Business School Club of CT Community Partners working through a period of self-reflection, reviewing our current name, mission and programs, evaluating the needs of Danbury Public Schools and asking ourselves what else we can do to connect volunteers from local businesses and the community with Danbury Public School students and have a greater impact.  We will be seeking input from many of our stakeholders in the months to come - stay tuned.
As a reminder, the Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast will be held on Thursday, May 17th. We look forward to celebrating our scholarship recipients and mentors making a difference with all of you.  Until then, enjoy the sunshine!

Kind regards,


Ellen Meyst
DSABC Executive Director

Register to Attend 
the 2018
Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast

Please join us in celebrating our DSABC Scholarship Recipients 
and Mentors Making a Difference.
  When: Thursday, May 17, 2018     7:45 - 9:00 a.m.
Where:  Amber Room Colonnade  - 1 Stacey Road,  Danbury, CT 

DECO Fundraiser 
Dine at  Outback Steakhouse on
Thursday, April 26, 2018
4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
116 Newtown Road in  Danbury
and they will donate 15% of the proceeds to the Danbury Early College Opportunity Program

DSABC Supporters Gather 
for An Evening of Wine Tasting
DSABC held a fundraiser on February 9th at Max Wine & Spirits.  Over 150 attendees braved the cold to come out and enjoy tasting a wide selection of wine while mingling with friends and supporting DSABC.  A variety of silent auction items were available to bid on.  All proceeds benefited the DSABC mentoring and scholarship programs.   Due to the tremendous support, we look forward to making this an annual event!

Thank you to our auction donors:
American Tile & Stone
Black Angus Grill
Boston Red Sox
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Caraluzzi's Markets
Cheesecake Factory
Danbury Fire Department
Danbury Police Department
Noteworthy Chocolates
NY Giants
Stew Leonards
Walt Disney World
Judy Coco
Michael Ferguson
Ellen Meyst
Bob Port
Farley Santos
Keith Wolff
More photos from the 2018 Wine Tasting
are posted on our   Facebook Page. 

Ride to School in a Police Car
Two South Street School students beamed with excitement when they got to ride to school in a police car on March 8th.  Mentor, Lisa Antous, was the winning bidder for this exciting experience at the DSABC event and wanted the boys to have the opportunity to ride to school in style.  Officer Steve Cameron picked the boys up and drove them to school, complete with lights and sirens.  Thank you to the Danbury Police Department for donating this item to the DSABC auction.

DSABC Celebrates National Mentoring Month

Appreciation Luncheon 
Highlights Healthy Bonds

By Robin Provey

More than two dozen DSABC mentors attended this year's annual luncheon on January 30th at Cartus Corporation, to meet other mentors and learn about communicating effectively with students who may be struggling with difficult feelings. 

This year's keynote speakers were Ginny Ayres and Rebecca Strang from The Southfield Center for Development in Darien who presented "Connections First: Making sense of challenging family dynamics."  Southfield Center is a family-centered, interdisciplinary practice dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluation and care across a wide range of ages and challenges.

Ayres said that some students who work with mentors can be at-risk or have  problems with parents at home.
 She said this is where mentors play a pivotal role  in a child's life and for mentors to be aware that "behavior is communication" and by acting out a student may be expressing confusion or feelings of being worthless. 

"Mentors can play a replacement parent role," said Ayres, who explained that children need unconditional love and acceptance. If they don't receive those, usually from a parent, it can result in low self-esteem. Mentors can facilitate a child's learning appropriate behavior.

DSABC mentor Bob Port, who works with a DHS sophomore, suggested a strategy he uses to make his points more relatable. Due to the generation gap, he relays experience of his own children rather than himself and has found his mentee is more open to listening to those stories. Port said the annual luncheon and other events sponsored by DSABC are great support builders for the mentors.

Thanks to our Donors
Branson Ultrasonics Corporation
Savings Bank of Danbury Foundation

Cary Conroy
Rick Hoddinott
Claudia Menezes
Bill Glass
Phyllis Leopold
Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Riefberg
Hillel Goldman
Mr. & Mrs. Steve Levasseur
Janice Thomas
Cartus Hosts a Mentor & Mentee Gathering

Cartus hosted a 'super hero themed' field trip on  April 12th for mentors and students to gather at Cartus worldwide headquarters in Danbury. Eighteen students who participate in the DSABC program were excited to visit the office and see where their mentors work. They enjoyed playing games, having lunch and spending time with eachother.  Thank you to Cartus for hosting this event, which the students look forward to each year!

Pictured (l to r): Mentors Elisa Pica,  Lindsay Duva, Glenn Martin,  Sherry Cheng-Dexter 
and Jeanne Blekis spend time with their mentees at Cartus.
FC Gives Event Raises $1,085
Thank you to our 2018 Fairfield County Giving Day donors!
Your generous donations will be put to great use supporting our mission to help Danbury Public School students achieve personal and academic success.  Because of your thoughtful support, we are able to help make a difference in the lives of students who benefit from the unique one-on-one support that a positive role model can provide through mentoring. 
Howard Adams 
Susan Edelstein  
Steven Levasseur 
Farley Santos 
Kathi Barese
Joan Fazekas
Ellen Meyst 
Manish Soni 
Sarah Bollert 
Michael Ferguson 
Jim Moretti 
Jen Tomaino 
Jennifer Casey

Marilyn Geti  
Kerry O'Mahony
Kim Trocola 
Judy Coco 
Kristina Hislop 
Dr. Sal Pascarella 
Anonymous Gifts (3)  
Cary Conroy  
Dawn Lagarto-Immohr 
Michelle Pisarick 
Ed Dayton  
Karen Ledan 
Emily Pogers 

Mentor Spotlight
Having a mentor opened my shell says DHS student 
By Robin Provey

When Jhasuel Espinal first met his DSABC mentor, Karen Ledan, he was a shy and quiet second grader at Stadley Rough School. He said he didn't really understand why Ledan, a complete stranger to him, was visiting him at school.
Now - nine years later, the 16-year-old junior can't imagine a week going by without his mentor visiting him at Danbury High School to talk about school or play a game of Yahtzee.
Jhasuel said although that initial meeting was awkward, he knew Ledan was kind and funny, and he warmed up to her quickly.  

"I liked her right away," he said. "She's mostly a listener and gives advice."

Ledan, who works in the records unit at the Danbury Police Department, had thought for a long time about mentoring, but it wasn't until her son was in grade school that she saw a need for some students to have an adult with whom to spend time.

"I saw that some kids had no one to talk to," she said. "The best thing about mentoring is just knowing that you are helping someone and just to be a friend to someone."

But Ledan has found that the mentor program has also benefited her. She admitted to sharing her enthusiasm for the program at work and a colleague once asked if the program benefited her more than the student. Ledan laughed and said "we help each other."
"It took me a long time to see the difference I made," Ledan said. "But he wasn't a challenge, although he didn't talk at first. I just tried to be fun and let him trust me in his own time so he could open up. Now if something is wrong, he'll usually talk about it. And he usually chooses the right path."
Jhasuel, who works part time as a decorating assistant, likes math and plans to study computer engineering after high school. Looking back on his years with a DSABC mentor, Jhasuel said that life without having a mentor would be more confusing and it would be harder to stay on track.
"The mentoring program has slowly cracked my shell open," he said. Every year, Ledan lets Jhasuel decide whether to continue meeting for another school year, and every year he says yes.
"She's fun. She's a good friend to have," he said. "I like that she is calm and cool to hang out with. I would say to someone who is getting a mentor: don't judge the person right away."
According to Ledan, the best part of being a mentor is "being able to make a difference, make someone's life a little different, a little better. Everybody should be a mentor once in their life. It would help so many people. You want to think you are the best mentor, but like a parent, you just do the best you can and hope you make a difference."
Welcome New Mentors
One-on-One Mentoring Program

Lisa Ameijide - Independent
Jean Matturro - Independent
Brian Morehouse - Independent
Joshua Richter - Danbury Public Schools

DSABC continues to seek mentors for Danbury Public School students.  If you or someone you know is interested in mentoring, please click here to complete the application.   
DSABC Board News
Welcome New Board Member
Ralph Pietrafesa
Many Thanks to Departing Member
Keith Wolff

Calendar Watch

11: Professional Development - Early Dismissal  
15: One Hour Early Release 
17: Annual DSABC Awards & Scholarship Breakfast 
22: One Hour Early Release  
25: Professional Development - Schools Closed 
28: Memorial Day - Schools Closed 

June 20: HATS High School Graduation 
June 22:  DHS/ACE High School  Graduation
June 28:  Last Day of School - Early Dismissal 
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.   Share your mentoring stories, tell us why you became a mentor or let us know how your company supports mentoring. 
Email contributions to  meyste@danbury.k12.ct.us.

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 mentoring and scholarship programs .