N E W S L E T T E R        Summer  2019

Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

As the 2018 - 2019 school year drew to a close, we looked back on the impact that our organization was able to make thanks to all of the individuals, companies, community partners and schools that generously support the mentoring and scholarship programs. Together, through your passion, dedication and commitment, we strive to make meaningful connections that benefit Danbury Public School students. A word of encouragement, non-judgmental support and friendship, all help build character and confidence. We are grateful to each and everyone one of you for your ongoing support.
At our annual breakfast, two past participants reiterated the significance of the connections they made with their mentors in elementary school - relationships that they still value. Katherine Cordova, a 2009 graduate, who was mentored by Patricia Durkin, shared, "My mentor was my best friend, a second mother, my number one supporter. Everything I needed, all in one person. I know that everyone comes into your life for a reason and Pat was the illuminating light I needed. She inspired me in so many ways and it's always amazing to think how our lives came together, the moment she decided to become a mentor, so selflessly."
In culmination of months of gathering your input, we announced that DSABC will be renamed Danbury Student and Business Connection.  While the name change is slight, we remain steadfast in our mission of connecting Danbury Public School students with incredible adults in our community. With the guidance of our Advisory Committee, we have been diligently working towards expanding our One-on-One mentoring program, improving our scholarship program, expanding our internship program and exploring new ways to make these meaningful connections.  We are so excited to celebrate our 30th anniversary next year and look forward to working with you on these initiatives.
Hope you are all enjoying a 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. 

Graduate shares DSABC experience: 
'My mentor literally saved my life' 
By Robin Provey

At this year's annual Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) breakfast to honor mentors and their students, the Executive Director Ellen Meyst shared about a student who graduated in 2005, beginning with something he recently told her: "My mentor literally saved my life." But Meyst didn't finish. 
Instead, the Danbury High School football star Glen Mourning stood up in the crowd after driving through the night from Virginia to attend the May 16 breakfast. Mourning took his place at the podium and finished telling his own story.

The oldest of five children with a single mother who quit high school, Mourning, now an author, educator and motivational speaker, grew up in the projects, fatherless and directionless. If it weren't for Danbury schools, he said, he never would have made it to become the man he is today.

"Danbury did what Danbury does: recognized a challenge and recognized a need," Mourning said. When he looks back on his humble beginnings, he said the outcome was an unlikely one, but for the mentoring program. Mourning first met his mentor, Herman Izzard, while a student at Hayestown Avenue School.   

"I was the kid . . . you know the trucks that make frequent turns, they know where the construction site is, but they keep turning? I was that kid," Mourning said. "Things would be going along smoothly, and then I'd make frequent turns - and then a hard left."

He said it was during this time that he struggled with reading simple words, but soon learned the most important word: "time," because it translated to "caring." Mourning said he realized that in order to show up and spend time with a kid who needed so much guidance, Izzard must have really cared about him. And that made the biggest difference in Mourning's life.

"When people don't give up because of frequent turns, it's the most important thing," Mourning said. However, the DHS graduate didn't urge the audience to become mentors. "But, if you do, you won't regret dedicating a moment of time spent on that child."

This year's 29th annual DSABC breakfast was a way to thank mentors for their service. About 150 supporters attended the breakfast, held at the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury.
"We hope to further collaborate with area businesses, community organizations and individuals so that together, we may strengthen the positive impact we can all have on Danbury Public School students.   We will focus our efforts on making more of these meaningful connections," Meyst said. "All of this is made possible through the tremendous support of many of you in this room." 

Six graduating senior students were awarded scholarships at the event: Daryus Cintron, Jhasuel Espinal, and Angelina Gentile from Danbury High School; Jake Smalls from the Alternative Center for Excellence; and Ashley Thompson and Andrew Vargas from Henry Abbott Technical School.

Those graduating seniors all shared that, like Mourning, DSABC had changed their lives for the better.

Thompson, who has been with her mentor Maria Fernandez for three years, said having a mentor is like having a friend who doesn't judge her: "My mentor always knows what to say and how to say it. When you have a mentor it really does change everything in your life.  It makes life manageable, so you don't have to do it alone."

For nearly three decades, DSABC, a non-profit organization, has matched students in the Danbury Public Schools and Henry Abbott Regional Technical School with mentors. 

Many businesses in the collaborative were represented at the breakfast, including Aires, Boehringer Ingelheim, Branson Ultrasonics, Cartus, City of Danbury, Collins Aerospace, Linde, Savings Bank of Danbury, Union Savings Bank and Wells Fargo. Seventeen mentors were honored for their longevity in the program from five to 25 years. David Cook, a retired City of Danbury employee, has been mentoring students for 25 years, and Jim Moretti, who works at Cartus, was recognized for his 20 years of mentoring. There are currently 175 DSABC mentors who volunteer to meet students on a weekly basis during the school year.

"We get into this profession, and we don't always hear words like love and compassion," said Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella. "Things like Herman does, you can't buy - and the outcome is incredibly powerful. What you do impacts the heart. You can educate the mind, but if the heart's not in it, it doesn't matter. What you all do leaves a legacy. That you can't replace and you can't pay for."

More photos from the 2019 Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast 
are posted on our  Facebook Page.
    Thank you to photographer Oleksandra Romanyshyn who graciously volunteered her time and talent.


Daryus Cintron
  Danbury High School
Jeffrey Dunkerton
Jhasuel Espinal
Danbury High School
Karen Ledan
Angelina Gentile
Danbury High School
Rosanne Mancini
Jake Smalls
  Alternative Center for Excellence
Otto Williams
Caryn Swenson
Ashley Thompson
Henry Abbott Technical School
Maria Fernandes
Andrew Vargas
  Henry Abbott Technical School
John Edmond

to our Mentor
Years of Service Awards
25 Years
David Cook

20 Years
Jim Moretti

10 Years
Susan Edelstein
Crystal Rumph

5 Years 
Donald Briggs
Ginny Burke
Marilyn Geti
Steven Levasseur
Melissa Mejia
Ellen Meyst
Diana Netto
Bob Port
Celeste Ruggiero
Margaret Santos Arnold
Emmanuele Schweder
Jennifer Tomaino
Zeena Williams
DSABC Announces New Name
Danbury Student And Business Connection

At the annual breakfast, DSABC Board Chairman, Michael Ferguson, announced that starting next school year, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the organization, Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative will become the Danbury Student and Business Connection. 

"Yes, it is a subtle change," he stated. "And yes we will still be known by our closest supporters and stakeholders by the same acronym - DSABC.  However, this new name gives us the chance to make clear who we are here to serve - our students - and the connections that they have the chance to make."

"This is an exciting time for DSABC.  As we celebrate our 30th anniversary next year, now is the time for us to re-introduce ourselves to the Danbury community. Now is the time for the Danbury Student and Business Connection to share our success stories, to partner with more businesses, to forge meaningful relationships with community organizations, to recruit more dedicated volunteers, and to never forget what our focus is - to help build the confidence and character of the students we are here to serve."
As DSABC continues to roll out the the rebrand initiative, we are seeking new logo designs that capture the name and mission and we welcome your input.  If you would like to submit a logo design, please contact us.    
Thanks to our Donors
Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation       Branson Ultrasonics
 Cartus Mentoring Team       Linde        Student Transportation of America     

Lisa Antous
Shaun McColgan
Kerry O'Mahony
Amy Spallino
Thomas Iskrzycki
Martin Morgado
Patrick Ridenhour
Barbara Stauder
and Breakfast Sponsors
Branson Ultrasonics     Cartus    Linde     NEA Danbury    S avings Bank of Danbury        
Welcome New Mentors 

One-on-One Mentoring Program
Renilda Ferreira - Independent
Jill Teplica - Danbury Public Schools
Danbury Public School Annual Golf Outing

On June 27th, eighty golfers converged on Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury for the 2019 DPS Golf Outing. This annual event is organized by Brian Betesh, 6th grade Social Studies teacher at Rogers Park Middle School and Mark Ottusch, Physical Education teacher at King Street School. This year, they generously donated the proceeds to the DSABC Mentoring Program. Their last five golf outings have raised over $15,000 for local charities and causes!

Participants, many who are DPS staff, enjoyed beautiful weather and some friendly competition. Raffle prize winners were announced over dinner. Prizes were kindly donated by a number of local businesses and individuals.  DSABC is grateful to all who attended and to Brian and Mark for organizing a fantastic event!  

Students Enjoy a Mentor & Mentee Gathering at Cartus

Cartus hosted a field trip for mentors and students to gather at Cartus worldwide headquarters in Danbury on April 11th.  A dozen students who participate in the DSABC program were excited to visit the office and see where their mentors work. 

S tudents enjoyed a tour of the building, playing games, having lunch and decorating a large banner to commemorate the event.

Second-grader, Gabe shared, "I love this day! It makes me happy inside when I get to go see my mentor."

DSABC appreciates Cartus for hosting this event, which the students look forward to each year!

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 75 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 25 new mentors needed for the 2019-20 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.

New Mentor Recruitment

In an effort to further engage with employees from the City of Danbury, liason and mentor Karen Ledan, organized a mentor recruitment event at the Public Works Department on May 9th. We met a lot of great people interested in making a difference through mentoring.

To help encourage volunteering and build new relationships, Union Savings Bank hosted the second annual Community Fair on June 18th connecting their team members 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.   Thank you to Dina Pereira and Michele Bonvicini for organizing a wonderful event!

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.
Throwback to 2004

Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast
Calendar Watch

28 -  First Day of School 

2 - Labor Day - Schools Closed
24 - One Hour Early Release
30 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools Closed

The first day of school for Henry Abbott Technical School is Thursday, 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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