N E W S L E T T E R        Summer  2020

Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

I hope this finds all of you safe and healthy. The past four months have been unlike any other as both adults and students have had their routines disrupted. The Danbury Public School community rose to the challenge and despite the difficult circumstances, there were so many displays of hope, kindness and resiliency. District administrators and staff alongside the Board of Education are continuously working to insure the best for the students.

I would like to thank our volunteers not only for your commitment to mentoring this past school year but for your patience during this unprecedented time. I am grateful for all of individuals, companies, community partners and schools that generously support our programs and to all of you who have reached out to me to offer assistance as we plan for the Fall. You are the reason for the success of our program and your input will enable us to improve, adapt and adjust to our new norm.

DSABC missed the opportunity to personally congratulate the 2020 DSABC Scholarship recipients at our Annual Breakfast this year yet the graduating students and their mentors still reflected on their experience in the mentoring program.   I encourage you to view the full slideshow. The number of years that this group of students were matched with their mentors ranged from 2 to 12 years and totaled 61 years! That is a remarkable number of hours spent developing relationships, offering encouragement, solving problems, building confidence, planning for the future and simply enjoying one another's company. 

There were also many mentors reaching impressive milestones and we would like to recognize them for committing 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 years to the DSABC mentoring program. Larry, Carla and Sanaa have been mentoring a combined 60 years! When it is safe for all of us to celebrate together again, we will applaud these tremendous achievements and express our gratitude to all of the mentors who have volunteered countless hours with our students.

Be well, stay healthy and enjoy 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 is critical, particularly as we explore options for next year. 
"Having a mentor was one of the best experiences during my time with the Danbury Public School System. Having a mentor who is a different race from me benefited me greatly.  I learned certain things from a different perspective as well. He encouraged me to be who I am and be the outstanding person that people want to see me be. Thank you to my hero for sticking with me for many years." 

2020  DSABC
"It has been a great two years being your mentor. You were the first kid I mentored, and with how our relationship grew, I look forward to continuing mentoring young men like you. I learned a lot along the way, and watching you grow into a better young man and student was an absolute pleasure."

"It truly warmed my heart and in that moment, I knew this would be the start of a great friendship."

Ja'Niyah Albarron
Henry Abbott Technical School
Krystyna Zieba
Quinn Banks
Danbury High School
Ginny Burke
Jamar Crawford
Danbury High School
Manish Soni
Michael Cunningham
Danbury High School
Bob Port
Matheus Dos Reis
Danbury High School
George Collins
Veronica Gebing
 Alternative Center for Excellence
Janice Thomas
Sean Idlet
Henry Abbott Technical School
Beatrice Isaac
Linda Lopez
Danbury High School
Dawn Needelman
Juan Peralta
Danbury High School
Sanaa Almarayati
Rupa Pandya Vass
Damar Whitaker
Henry Abbott Technical School
Dewayne Dickens

"To have a mentor was like the highlight of my day because I got to speak with someone about our lives and I could just say it without being shy. My mentor was like a best friend because she has encouraged me to do what I want, she has given me advice, and more confidence to get out there and explore more. I love her so much."

"She is my family. I am the child she never had, and I think that we didn't meet by accident.  She is so smart and she inspires me to do better. She knows I can do better. For the longest time, I didn't know myself, I didn't believe in myself and somehow she always believed in me. When I don't have enough confidence in myself to do something, she gives me that confidence."

"Having a mentor was a great thing for me. It has helped me in many ways. It has given me someone to look up to.  He was always there for me."

Thank you to everyone who shared your thoughts and reflections on your time spent together - it is inspiring that you have forged long-lasting friendships.   

to our Mentor
Years of Service Awards

25 Years
Larry Post

20 Years
Carla Pierce

15 Years
Sanaa Almarayati

10 Years
Chip Abbott
Jay Holt
Dawn Immohr
Manish  Soni

5 Years 
Kimberly Abreu
Uma Bhan
Jeffrey Dunkerton
Ryan Howley
Dawn Needleman
Meghan O'Brien
Michael Russotti
Charles  Wisniewski
Virtual Career Day at Shelter Rock

Junior Achievement of Greater Fairfield County and DSABC collaborated on a virtual Career Fair for fifth graders at Shelter Rock elementary school.  Originally the program was planned to take place in school but when distance learning commenced, it shifted online.  Volunteers representing various industries pre-recorded presentations for the students.   Special thanks to Jennifer Murphy-Pitcher and Suzanne Garofola from Junior Achievement for providing the curriculum and driving the project and Ida Lucarelli, 5th grade teacher at Shelter Rock, for engaging the students.   We are grateful to all who volunteered: Chip Daly, Michael Ferguson, Craig Lennon, Bob Meyst, Ramon Peralta, Dana Perez and Lisa Reiss as well as a number of middle school students who shared helpful tips for students moving up to 6th grade.
Thank You to our Donors
Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation       
Branson Ultrasonics
 Cartus Mentoring Team  
Eversource Energy Foundation      
NEA Danbury
Reynolds & Rowella
Savings Bank of Danbury 
Wells Fargo Advisors - Danbury
Welcome New Mentors 

One-on-One Mentoring Program
Michael Halas -  Independent
Cooper Mead - City of Danbury
Ken Wallace - Danbury Public Schools
Mentor Spotlight
DSABC mentor, student 'a perfect match'

By Robin Provey

Elisa Pica, a mentor with Danbury Student and Business Connection (DSABC) remembers back to her childhood when she was painfully shy and speaking comfortably with people took some time. When she started mentoring a shy second-grader nearly eight years ago, she said it was easy to relate to her. The student, Adaizah Tabora, is now a freshman at Danbury High School.

"We were a perfect match," Pica said.

Pica started mentoring Adaizah, who is also in the Danbury Early College Opportunity program offered at DHS, while at Mill Ridge Intermediate School and followed her to Rogers Park Middle School and finally DHS. 

Pica said that while she relates to the shyness, she also sees that today's teens live in a very different world.

"There are still pressures from your friends, and the awkward communication with adults and learning to make good decisions, but then there's the whole other world that social media opens up for young people," said Pica, who is retired from Cartus Corporation. "It can be confusing and sometimes it's hard to talk to another adult about it, and that's where a mentor can offer advice and help guide a teen through making better decisions."

Despite her early reticence, Adaizah appreciated Pica's patience; the two played games like Candyland and colored quietly until they got to know each other better.

"It was actually really fun, and I took the opportunity that she could help me, like a best friend," Adaizah said. "I like being able to tell her things and her being there."

Pica said that the relationship has enhanced her life as well and she has gotten to know Adaizah's mother and has attended her school moving up ceremonies.

"She's getting older and I'm getting younger," said Pica. "We play and we still color. This gives us an opportunity to talk about choices and making the right choice."

Adaizah said sometimes other students and friends see her with Pica during their weekly meeting at the school, and "they want to have a mentor. They see me drawing and ask questions about what we do. My friends go through things and some don't have anyone to talk to."

Adaizah sees some teens her age making poor decisions, especially regarding social media issues, and feels that Pica helps her through this and encourages her to talk to other adults, such as her parents or teachers and school counselors. Adaizah said that she's learned to share her feelings with Pica and to work through those events that happen during the teenage years.

"Over the years, I got to know her a lot," said Adaizah, adding that her life has been different because of her mentor's presence in her life. She feels more confident and a lot less shy.

Adaizah's favorite subject is science, although she is considering a career in social work so she can help others. She also has a business mentor in DECO and wants to give back what has been given to her.

Over the years, Pica said she's seen Adaizah blossom from a very shy and unsure little girl into an extremely bright and poised teenager.

"She's become more confident and talkative," Pica said. "I notice more and more that when she sees me, she's genuinely happy to see me."

But Adaizah isn't the only one who has grown and benefited from the mentoring program.

"I see how hard it is to be a kid, especially with all the technology. I worry about her, but she has a good head on her shoulders. Still, it's opened my eyes to all the struggles, and she's not afraid to tell me things," Pica said. "The best part has been watching her grow up into a beautiful young lady."
Board News
Thank you to our departing Board Members.  
We are grateful to you for dedicating your time and talents to DSABC.
Bob Port - 4 years
Ed Dayton - 3 years
Ralph Mancini - 2 years

Congratulations to our newly elected officers:
 Chair - Jennifer Tomaino
Vice Chair - Sarah Bollert

and our re-elected officers:
Secretary - Maureen Decker
Treasurer - Farley Santos 
 Mentor Training
The Governor's Prevention Partnership is offering a free webinar for mentors.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
9:30 am10:45 am
Virtual Meeting Via Zoom
Throwback to 2014

Cartus Mentoring Team at the  Annual Scholarship & Awards Breakfast
Calendar Watch

27 -  First Day of School 

7 - Labor Day - Schools Closed
22 - Early Dismissal
28 - Yom Kippur - Schools Closed

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. 

Our mission is to build the character and confidence of Danbury Students to achieve personal and academic success through business and community partnership.

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

Click Here to  Donate with