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

   Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

Happy New Year!   January is an exciting month for DSABC as it marks the 
16th Annual National Mentoring Month, a campaign launched by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.  Our participation is aimed at celebrating DSABC mentors and the lasting effect they have on Danbury Public School students as well as expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of Danbury's students with positive adult role models.  

Research has shown that when matched through a program like DSABC, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools they need to make responsible decisions, stay focused and be more engaged in school.  Help us raise awareness by letting area business leaders know that they can strengthen our community through mentoring and share the incredible impact that mentoring can have.   The statistics confirm the difference a mentor can make.

With a mentor, at-risk youth are:
  • 52% less likely than their peers to skip school
  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
  • 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extra-curricular activities
  • 90% respondents who had a mentor said they are now interested in being a mentor
January also marks the third year of MENTOR's public awareness and recruitment campaign, In Real Life which focuses on the real life benefits of mentoring to young people, as well as the life-changing stories shared by mentors themselves.   We encourage you to actively celebrate National Mentoring Month.  Share your In Real Life stories of success with friends, family and co-workers.  Post on your social media platforms with #MentorIRL and add your voice to the mentoring movement.

As a culmination of our National Mentoring Month activities, we would like to cordially invite you to An Evening of Wine, Beer & Food Tasting on Friday, February 9 th.  Please join us for a fun evening with friends and supporters of DSABC to help raise funds and awareness for the DSABC mentoring program.

We are grateful for the unwavering commitment of our volunteers and for your continued support and enthusiasm!  

Kind regards,


Ellen Meyst
DSABC Executive Director
National Mentoring Month
January is National Mentoring Month which focuses national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us - individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits -can work together to increase the number of mentors to help ensure positive outcomes for young people.   

January 4 -  I Am a Mentor Day
January 15 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 25 - Thank Your Mentor Day

DSABC will be hosting a
National Mentoring Month Thank You Luncheon & Workshop

"Connections First: Making sense of challenging family dynamics"

Rebecca Strang, Behaviorist & Ginny Ayres, MA, LPC, LADC
The Southfield Center for Development

When: Tuesday, January 30th  11:45 am - 1:15 pm
Where:  Cartus, 40 Apple Ridge Road in Danbury

DSABC is hosting a fundraising event - please join  us for an amazing selection of beverages and  hors d'oeuvres.  $30 per person.

Friday, February 9th - 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Max Wine & Spirits, 40 Mill Plain Road in Danbury
 Praxair Hosts a Mentor & Mentee Gathering

Mentors:  Sanaa Almarayati, Liz Hirsch, Dawn Immohr,  Madhu Sinha and Ralph Mancini spend time with students at Praxair.
Praxair hosted a field trip on October 25th for mentors and students to gather at Praxair worldwide headquarters in Danbury. Five students who participate in the DSABC program were excited to visit the office and see where their mentors work. They listened to a presentation on cyber security and enjoyed lunch. DSABC appreciates Praxair for hosting this event, which the students look forward to
each year!

Thank You to our Donors 
Elisabeth Booth Barton
Western Connecticut Health Network

Welcome New Mentors 

DSABC One-on-One Mentoring Program 

Gene Pollastro - Branson
Kera Mitchell - Cartus
Lauren Casey - Praxair
Mila Park - Praxair
Pat Cowie - Independent
Candice Fuller - Independent
Laura Heneghan - Independent
Candace Ovesey - Independent
Beatrice Soi - Independent

WorkPlace Learning E-Mentoring Program

Molly Anderson Diker -  The Microsoft Store
Danbury Early College Opportunity 
Meet and Greet

Freshmen participating in the Danbury Early College Opportunity (DECO) program met with their on-line mentors in person on October 27th at Western Connecticut State University.  Students and mentors worked on solutions to problems that could be addressed using technology, a project that will continue throughout the school year.   We are still in need of on-line mentors - this flexible volunteer opportunity has a big impact on the success of the DECO students.

We continue to seek internship opportunities for DECO students that could incorporate general business skills or a specialization in technology. We are seeking local businesses and community organizations to host student interns over a 6 - 8 week period. Students will be available to work 4 - 5 hours per week after school or on weekends. Our motivated students have been trained in workplace etiquette and need hands-on work experience. 

Fall Recruitment

DSABC was at the Western Connecticut State University's Annual Community Service Fair spreading the news about our mentoring programs to students seeking volunteer opportunities.

Mentor Spotlight
'Just being there makes all the difference'
By Robin Provey

What started out as a weekly game of checkers more than 10 years ago has turned into a lifelong friendship for Danbury High School senior Ke'Shown Brown and his Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) mentor Sanaa Almarayati.

Ke'Shown was in second grade at King Street School when Almarayati, a manager of legal services at Praxair in Danbury, came into his life. He said he wanted a mentor, someone to talk to and learn from. But Almarayati found it was she who learned from Ke'Shown, starting with the art of checkers.

"He taught me how to play. I couldn't understand this kid beating me. But he's good; he has strategy," Alamarayati said.

A Danbury native, Ke'Shown plays the drums and keyboard, likes math and plans to enroll in the automotive program at Naugatuck Valley Community College. He said his mentor has helped him and been there through difficult times. Raised by his grandparents, Ke'Shown lost his mother in 2014 and his grandmother last year - and Almarayati was there through it all. Her constant support and guidance kept him motivated, Ke'Shown said.

"She motivates me to do things I wouldn't do, like going to college," he said. 

This year, his last in high school, has been less about checkers and more about Ke'Shown's future. Almarayati said she has seen him grow and mature - and she finally sees the culmination of all the advice, conversations and guidance.

"I see a young man who has matured with great confidence. This year there's been more to talk about because there's transition," she said. "Ke'Shown is more open this year, and we've been talking about his next step after high school and we talked about his options. I've seen him go through a lot of life challenges - he's always thinking out loud and he's mature and very good at communicating."

Almarayati said it took years before realizing the positive impact she'd had on Ke'Shown: "I didn't know I made a difference until recently," she said. "You never know what a child needs, so the best thing is just being there. He's telling me now about things that clicked with him. He's really listened and appreciated things I've said to him."

"And her advice I can pass on to other people," Ke'Shown said. When a friend recently went through a difficult time, Ke'Shown immediately remembered something Almarayati had said to him: "hang around with the right people - not the people who bring you down."

Almarayati, who started at Praxair in 2005, had worked at other corporations that encouraged community volunteering, but it was at Praxair that she learned about DSABC.

"It's nice to be one on one with a student," she said, but her early experiences weren't as fruitful as expected, as she had three students who didn't stay with the program. "I thought this might be a sign. But they said to try one more. Then Ke'Shown came along, and it's been great."

For all of those years, both Ke'Shown and Almarayati made the commitment to meet once a week during all of those school years. Almarayati said she had heard sometimes students don't want to talk or they don't want to see their mentors anymore. She said Ke'Shown was there waiting every week.

"I could rely on him too," she said. "It makes a huge difference. He's like my son now. I think we will be in contact forever."  
School Calendar Watch

9 - One Hour Early Release
15 - Martin Luther King Day - Schools Closed
16 - Professional Development - Schools Closed
23 - One Hour Early Release

13 - One Hour Early Release
19 - Presidents' Day - Schools Closed
27 - One Hour Early Release

Be on the lookout for announcements regarding school closings, delays and dismissals due to weather concerns.  Mentoring can me impacted during the winter months.
20 - One Hour Early Release
27 - One Hour Early Release
30 - Good Friday - Schools Closed

Mentor Training 
Growth Mindset Toolkit for Mentors
17 self-guided lessons
Approximate completion time: 60 minutes
Developed in collaboration with MENTOR. This toolkit can help mentors understand growth mindset and how to apply growth mindset strategies to many of the challenges that youth and adults face in life. 

FC Gives is on March 1st
24 Hours to Give Where You Live

DSABC will once again be participating in Fairfield County's Giving Day on March 1st.  
Giving Day is an easy, exciting way for area residents and businesses to join together to support local non-profits.  
Please help DSABC spread the word 
about this 24-hour online fundraising opportunity.
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. 
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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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