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

   Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

As we near the close of the 2017 - 2018 school year, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the individuals, companies, community partners and schools that support the mentoring and scholarship programs. The success of DSABC relies on the incredible commitment that you display each and every year making a difference in the lives of Danbury students. Our core One-on-One Mentoring program continues to thrive through your dedication and generosity allowing students to benefit from the encouragement, motivation and support provided by DSABC mentors. 
Those benefits are evident in a few excerpts from what this year's graduates shared about their experience in the program:

"My mentor is not just my mentor anymore, he is my friend. Having a mentor has meant a lot to me because it provided an ear to listen when nobody else would. He taught me how to be a better man."

"My mentor wants to see me succeed and achieve my goals. She has made a difference in my life because she is a great guide. I appreciate the opportunity to have a positive role model in my life."

"Having a mentor was like having a friend, a person you could look up to, a person you can trust." 
It has been an exciting year for DSABC - welcoming new mentors and partners, hosting fundraising events in the community and helping to identify internship opportunities for DECO students. Each time we asked, you stepped up to support our efforts. As I mentioned in the spring, we have dedicated significant time this past year to refine our vision. We plan to continue this process, not only evaluating and expanding our current mentoring programs but also recognizing areas of opportunity to add new programs and build on our collaborations to make a greater impact.  We look forward to working with you on this initiative in the 2018-19 school year.

I wish you all a safe and relaxing summer!

Kind regards,


Ellen Meyst
DSABC Executive Director
Attention Mentors : Year End Survey
We truly value your opinion.  If you haven't had the chance to complete the year end Mentor Survey, please take a few moments to do so by clicking here:

Thank you to everyone who has already responded - your feedback has been helpful. 

Paying it forward: 
DSABC annual breakfast celebrates mentors
 Annual breakfast honors volunteers, students
By Robin Provey

Many of the volunteers who mentor for Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) remember having an influential adult who helped them while they were growing up. Being a mentor for DSABC is their way of paying it forward.

This year's 28th annual DSABC breakfast was a way to thank members for their service. At the breakfast, held May 29 at the Amber Room Colonnade, it was clear that the program not only gives personal satisfaction to the mentors but also offers students support to succeed in ways they never thought possible. 

"A young gentleman recently approached me at a luncheon, excited to share that he had a mentor years ago while he was attending Mill Ridge Elementary School. He is now volunteering his time to mentor a Danbury student," DSABC Director Ellen Meyst told the group of volunteers and students. "This is just one example demonstrating that the time you are spending in a one-on-one relationship with students today can have significant and long-lasting effects well into the future."

For nearly three decades, the non-profit organization has matched students in the Danbury Public Schools and Henry Abbott Regional Technical School with mentors. Many area employers were represented at the breakfast, including breakfast sponsors Branson Ultrasonics, Cartus, NEA Danbury, Praxair, Savings Bank of Danbury and UTC Aerospace Systems. Sixteen mentors were honored for their longevity in the program from five to 15 years. 
Seven graduating senior students were awarded scholarships, presented by DSABC Board chair Michael Ferguson and Danbury Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella. 

"We see the potential in all of our students. We invest in our students because they represent the future," Ferguson said.

The following Danbury students received scholarships: Alternative Center for Excellence's Gianni Alessandro and India Lovito; Danbury High School's Ke'Shown Brown, Leandro Pena, Wendy Rios and Cassandra Turner; and Benjamin Ritchie from Henry Abbott Technical School.

Sanaa Almarayati, who has mentored Ke'Shown for the past 13 years, said Ke'Shown, who will attend Naugatuck Valley Community College in the fall, recently told her that because of her guidance throughout the years, he learned to make better choices, such as not hanging out with the wrong people.

"It was so rewarding to hear that," Almarayati said. "Mentors always hope their efforts have changed their lives, but it is the students who change our lives. Thank you Ke'Shown."

Cassandra, who plans to attend Central Connecticut State University in the fall, has been with her mentor, Deolina Moniz, for five years.

"My mentor impacted my life in a very positive way," Cassandra said. "She helped me to find ways to handle all the drama in my life. I couldn't have asked for a better person to be my support system."
Meyst shared that during the past year, DSABC has explored how to make an even greater impact and connect more volunteers with Danbury students. One way DSABC has been able to expand is through their partnership with the Danbury Early College Opportunity (DECO) program, in which students work toward an Associate Degree from NVCC while attending DHS. DSABC has recruited Workplace Learning e-mentors and identified internship positions for students in the program.

DECO Director Dr. Sarah Roy, a speaker at the breakfast, said the program is now in its third year, with many of its first cohort graduating this month. She said some of the students are completing internships at CT Dream Realty, United Way, Ingersoll Auto and Oak Branch. She explained how students learn valuable skills from their mentors and then apply what they learned during their internships.

"It is because of people like you they are able to do this," Roy said. 

"Together, through the passion of our volunteers, the incredible support from our corporate and community partners, the dedication of the Danbury Public School staff as well as the commitment of our Board of Directors, we will continue to build connections that help Danbury Public School students achieve personal and academic success while in school and beyond," said Meyst.

More photos from the 2018 Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast 
are posted on our Facebook Page. 


Gianni Alessandro
  Alternative Center for Excellence
Rick Hoddinott
Ke'Shown Brown
Danbury High School
Sanaa Almarayati
India Lovito
  Alternative Center for Excellence
Kim Wien 
Leandro Pena
Danbury High School
Will Rogers
Wendy Rios
  Danbury High School
Ana Perdigoto
Benjamin Ritchie
  Henry Abbott Technical School
Keith Wolff
Cassandra Turner
Danbury High School
Deolinda Moniz

to our Mentor
Years of Service 
15 Years
Alex Gankos

10 Years
Lisa Antous
Maria Bahia
John Edmond
Darlene Garrison
Karen Ledan
Keith Wolff
Krystyna Zieba

5 Years 
Sarah Bollert
Scott Caldwell
Elisa DiCarlo
Ashley Holmes
Corey Pullen
Stacy Thomas
Serafim Tomas
Tom Wieckowski
Thanks to our Donors 
AT&T Foundation       Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation
 Cartus Mentoring Team       Student Transportation of America     
Union Savings Bank Foundation

Linda Anderson
Alex Gankos
Shawn McColgan
RPMS Counselors
Lisa Antous
Angela Hylenski
Martin Morgado
Emmanuele Schweder
Rachel Chaleski
Thomas Iskrzycki
Kerry O'Mahony
Barbara Stauder
and Breakfast Sponsors
Branson Ultrasonics         Cartus          NEA Danbury         Praxair         
Savings Bank of Danbury       UTC Aerospace Systems
Welcome New Mentors 
One-on-One Mentoring Program

Madeleine Avendano - Independent
Elizabeth Carlson - Independent
Karah Greenfield - Independent
Donna Hunt - Branson
Beatrice Isaac - Independent
Steve Kahn - Independent
Steve Mueller - Independent
Courtney Passman - Independent
Kittikorn Sathong - Independent
Gary Simone - Independent
DECO program celebrates student success
By Robin Provey

By gaining workplace knowledge through internships and acing college-level courses, students in the Danbury Early College Opportunity program at Danbury High School are making the most of their experiences. 

On June 13, DECO held its Internship Exposition and Celebration at DHS. Several students from the program's first cohort, now in their third year, shared their internship projects. Other students received awards for their exceptional academic performance in the program.

DHS junior Maria DeSouza interned this semester with Dream House Realty, handling its monthly mailings.

"I learned business etiquette through DECO and how to apply that in a work setting," Maria said. "I'm glad that I gained this experience -- it opened doors to opportunities I would not have had."

Britta Pedersen, owner of Dream House Realty in Danbury, said Maria surpassed her expectations during her internship.

"Maria really stepped up to the plate," Pedersen said. "She went above her tasks understanding the business beyond busywork. Maria brought a different attitude. Her expectation was to learn and find out what the business was about."

Sebastian Arreola, also a junior, got firsthand experience in customer service at Ingersoll Auto in Danbury.

"I got to see how they work and how to co mmunicate," Sebastian said. "I learned how to approach someone and how to do a good job on what you're working on. Without this, I would just try to get the work done. It makes me focus instead of rushing."

Jerfrey Martinez interned for AcquireWeb in Newtown and will continue working there over the summer, creating ads and marketing campaigns.

"I look forward to continuing this," Jerfrey said. "I learned a lot about the workplace that has helped me."

Jenna Coladarci, a junior, worked in the marketing department at United Way of Western Connecticut for an hour a week from February through May making a promotional video.

"I learned that I want to go into marketing or communication," Jenna said. "DECO gave me exposure to companies and taking college courses. It'll help me in the future."

At the exposition, five students were recognized for earning a nearly perfect average for the semester in their computer courses: Storm Jacobs, Gabriela Galarza, Luke Lefflbine, Hannah Hodgdon and Adriana Salazar.
Six students were recognized for earning more than 15 college credits while maintaining a 3.5 GPA or better: Katherine Naulaguari, Gabriel Campos, Endy Macancela, Lucio Bellantoni, Teddy Hodgdon and Jerfrey Martinez.

Two students have earned more than 30 credits from NVCC with a 3.0 GPA or better: Francis Sanchez and Tyler Vittorini.

Cool Fundraiser
Thank you to our Cartus mentors who hosted an ice cream sale in May and  generously donated the proceeds to to DSABC's scholarship fund!

Mentors Needed
One-on-One Mentoring and DECO Workplace Learning E-Mentoring Programs need YOU to help us prepare for the new school year! Our current mentors are our best recruiters. Do you belong to a civic club or organization whose members might be interested in mentoring?   Share your experience and spread the word that DSABC is recruiting new mentors.

DSABC One-on-One Mentor Program:

Approximately 50 new mentors needed to meet the requests. 

A school based program that matches a supportive and caring adult who assists students to succeed in school by developing a one on one relationship. Mentors serve as a positive adult role model providing moral support and encouragement. One-on-One Mentors meet with their mentee weekly at the student's school throughout the duration of the school year. 

WorkPlace Learning E-Mentoring Program:

Approximately 70 new mentors needed for the 2018-19 cohort.

Mentors interact with Danbury High School students participating in the Early College Opportunity Program. Via an online platform, mentors provide guidance and advice on developing workplace skills by engaging in activities aligned with the Workplace Learning Class curriculum. Mentors meet with their mentees in group setting up to 4 times per year.

Summer Recruitment
To help encourage volunteering and build new relationships, Union Savings Bank hosted a Community Fair on June 12th connecting employees with area nonprofit organizations.   DSABC was happy to participate and discuss volunteer opportunities and ways to make a difference in our community with Union Savings Bank employees.

Summer is a perfect time to recruit mentors for the new school year!
If your company or business is interested in recruiting more DSABC mentors to add to your roster, please consider hosting a Coffee & Conversation or Lunch & Learn.  We would love the opportunity to present our mentoring programs with potential volunteers.

Calendar Watch
Please note, the 2018-2019 calendar has been revised to make up a day lost this year due to the storms.  The first day of school is now Friday, August 31st.
31 -  First Day of School 

3 - Labor Day - Schools Closed
10 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools Closed
18 - One Hour Early Release
19 - Yom Kippur - Schools Closed
25 - One Hour Early Release
28 - Early Dismissal

The first day of school for Henry Abbott Technical School is Wednesday, August 29th. 

We want to hear from YOU!
We are looking for mentors to include in our Mentor Spotlight series - please let us know if you would be interested in sharing your story!  In order to make our newsletter as relevant and interesting as possible, we need YOUR input for future publications.  
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 .

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