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

   Director's Message
Dear Friends of DSABC,

Happy New Year!   DSABC always looks forward to January as we are excited to celebrate the 17th Annual National Mentoring Month, a campaign launched by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. DSABC is participating in this campaign aimed at recognizing our mentors and the lasting impact 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.

January also marks the fourth 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.   DSABC's One-on-One Mentor Program has produced countless In Real Life stories of success over the past 29 years and we encourage you to share your stories with friends, family and co-workers.  Please post on your social media platforms with #MentorIRL and add your voice to the mentoring movement.

This year, DSABC is encouraging the students in our program to get involved in celebrating National Mentoring Month. We invited the mentees to enter our first ever Art and Essay Contest and can't wait to see and share their creative and written talent!

In appreciation of all of our volunteers, we are hosting a luncheon and workshop on January 23 rd - please use the link below to register.   I would also like to take this opportunity to cordially invite you to our second annual Evening of Wine, Beer & Food Tasting on Friday, March 22nd.  Please join us for a fun evening with friends and supporters of DSABC to help raise funds and awareness for the DSABC mentoring programs.

We are thankful for the steadfast 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 17 - International Mentoring Day
January 21 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
January 31 - #ThankYourMentor Day

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

"Youth Stress and Anxiety"

Elizabeth Jorgensen, CADC, Director
Dr. Mary Murphy, PhD
Insight Counseling

When: Wednesday, January 23rd  11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Where:  Danbury High School - Black Box Theater
43 Clapboard Ridge Road in Danbury

Thanks to your incredible response last year, DSABC is once again hosting this fundraising event.  We hope that you will come out and enjoy an evening with 
friends and colleagues while tasting a wonderful  selection of 
beverages and  hors d'oeuvres.    $30 per person.

Friday, March 22nd - 6:00 - 8:00 pm
(Please note the date change.)
Max Wine & Spirits, 40 Mill Plain Road in Danbury

 Union Savings Bank Inspiring Growth

Thank you Union Savings Bank for the opportunity to meet your new employees and present our mentoring programs. In celebration of National Mentor Month, USB's newest employees packaged "Sunflower Grow Kits" complete with inspirational notes.  We appreciate your generous offer of time and talent in creating these thoughtful gifts for Danbury Public School students. Thank you Dina Francisco Pereira, Community Relations Specialist at USB, for inviting us and for planning this creative activity.

Thank You to our Donors 
Elisabeth Booth Barton
Cartus Cares Foundation
Student Transportation of America
Traveling Chic Boutique
Union Savings Bank
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Patricia Durkin.   DSABC was honored and privileged to have Patricia volunteer as a mentor for our organization for eleven years.   
Her son shared that Patricia still remained friends with 
her mentee, Katherine (a 2009 graduate).   

Patricia's family graciously suggested that donations be made to DSABC in her honor.    We are humbled by the generous donations made by her family and friends.
DSABC raised raised $1,192 on Giving Tuesday 

Thank you to our 2018 #GivingTuesday donors!  Your generosity will assist DSABC in continuing our mission of helping Danbury Public School students achieve personal and academic success.  We are grateful for your thoughtful support.

Lisa Antous 
Michael Ferguson
Amy Spallino
Nina Caraluzzi
Barclay Griffiths
Dr. Sal Pascarella
Timothy Utech
Sheryl Colucci
Tracey Kurjiaka
Larry Post
Anonymous Gifts (3)
Carolyn Conroy
Ellen Meyst
Melinda Scott

New Mentor Recruitment
Boehringer Ingelheim invited DSABC to participate in their Wellness Fair on November 13th.  It was a wonderful opportunity to speak with BI employees about our mentoring programs and volunteer opportunities.
Mentors Chanel Grant, Maria Palushaj, Matt DeNove and BI liaison Kelley Troccolo were on hand to share their mentoring experiences.

City of Danbury liaison and mentor, Karen Ledan,  organized a recruitment event at the Danbury Police Department on January 10th. We are grateful for Chief Ridenhour's support and his commitment to making a difference through mentoring. Officers Howley and Russotti helped our efforts by discussing their roles as DSABC mentors.
Welcome New Mentors 

DSABC One-on-One Mentoring Program 

Laury Calderon - Independent
Nicole Callan - Aires
Chelsea Costa - Aires
Kimberley Council - Aires
Angelica Cramer - Branson
Susanna Dwyer - Aires
Steven Green - Independent
Laurie Heron - Branson
Nissa Laurelli - Aires
Alicia Lawrence - Independent
Sam Lurie - Branson
Sandra Martinez - Independent
Kristen McCutcheon - Independent
Amy Meador - Aires
David Messenheimer - Boehringer Ingelheim
Ralph Pietrafesa - Independent
Brooke Sherwood - Aires
Eric Tate - Aires
Nicole Trombetto - Aires
Maria Tumang - Independent

WorkPlace Learning E-Mentoring Program

Maureen Decker - VOW - Volunteers Open Worlds
Jamie McKamy - UTC Aerospace Systems

We welcome Aires as a new partner in our collaborative.
  New Mentor Training at Aires on December 13th.  
Mentor Spotlight
DSABC mentor program fosters appreciation
Mentor, student see results of patience and listening
By Robin Provey

For the past six years, Danbury High School junior Christian DeBarros has had a mentor from Danbury Schools and Business Collaborative (DSABC) - so long, he says, he barely remembers life without her.

Sherry Cheng-Dexter, a finance project manager at Cartus Corporation, met Christian when he was a fifth-grader at the Academy of International Studies, Danbury's magnet elementary school. She had always been involved in volunteering, at animal shelters and with Big Brothers and Sisters. However, when a colleague told her about DSABC's mentoring program, Cheng-Dexter thought it would be a great experience.

Part of the program's training is learning about what a mentor is - someone who doesn't discipline, but instead sets a good example and brings a positive attitude and good listening skills.

During a recent mentoring session, Christian recalled when he did "something dumb" in the sixth grade and Cheng-Dexter's positive attitude and good listening skills were exactly what set him back on the right path. The teen said it is a huge benefit in his life to have someone who is encouraging and supportive and not judgmental to talk to about issues.

"She said that I needed to improve and do better," said Christian, who also said he's more open-minded and less shy because of his relationship with a mentor. Even though Christian comes from a supportive family, he said a relationship with a mentor is different than with the other adults in his life.

"The title says everything. A mentor listens - they 'get' you. It's their job to listen and pay attention. Parents and teachers have a different job and they want you to do what they want you to do."

As a result of being able to express himself without discipline or judgment, Christian has grown to be more mature, responsive and appreciative, Cheng-Dexter said.

While their one-hour meetings at the school during the academic once centered around games such as Chutes and Ladders, Uno and Crazy Eights, the meetings this year are more focused on Christian's future - and educating Cheng-Dexter on the latest technology.

"He keeps me young showing me the latest apps," Cheng-Dexter said. "And we talk about his future beyond high school. I'm always encouraging him to do what he likes."

"I like history and am thinking of maybe becoming a professor," he said.

Cheng-Dexter immediately said that the biggest change in Christian over the past five years is that he's now taller than she. But upon deeper reflection, Cheng-Dexter said his biggest change is that he has learned a greater appreciation for the gifts in his life.

"He comes from a good family, and he knows he's lucky," she said. "It's good to see him appreciate things. He's very sweet and he's always respectful."

Cheng-Dexter doesn't like to take credit for Christian's positive growth and sometimes thinks he doesn't need a mentor anymore. But Christian says the relationship has given him more confidence and made him more open, and he thinks about things more clearly.

"I have seen through Christian that you can learn from a mentor to be a better person overall and appreciate things," said Cheng-Dexter. "But as a mentor I've learned things too: I've learned to be more patient and really listen to what he says. It's been great watching him grow into a young man."

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 26th at Danbury High School.  Students and mentors worked on identifying potential problems that could be solved using technology, a project that will continue throughout the school year.   
Mentors Alex Gankos and Rachelle Brice work with 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. 

Mentors Ed Dayton, Ken Decker and Beatrice Isaac pictured with their mentees.
Spreading Holiday Cheer 
DSABC was happy to replenish some of the games, puzzles and crafts that mentors use with their students.  Thank you to the school liaisons  for your helpful suggestions!   
Board News 
Welcome new Board Member - Maureen Decker

Thank you to our new Advisory Council Members, comprised of Danbury Public School 
staff who will help guide DSABC in improving our current programs, identifying 
areas where we may have an impact  and implementing new programs.  

Estela Camacho
Curtis Darragh
Doug Mottola
Carina Chelso
Marnie Durkin
Michelle Tarsi
Erin Daly
Gwen Gallagher
Leigh Viviano
Fallon Daniels
Ida Lucarelli
John Webber
School Calendar Watch

15 - One Hour Early Release
21 - Martin Luther King Day - Schools Closed
29 - One Hour Early Release

12 - One Hour Early Release
18 - Presidents' Day - Schools Closed
26 - 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.
12 - One Hour Early Release
26 - One Hour Early Release

Throwback to 1997

Published in the Danbury News Times June 3, 1997.
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 .