January 2018
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Happy National Mentor Month!
Thank you for your time and dedication to our students. You are making a difference!

 We celebrate YOU during National Mentor Month! 
January's Mentor of the Month
Mary Fussell
1. How did you become involved in mentoring through the Hillsborough Education Foundation?
An experienced mentor and friend of my Mom, who has become very special to me as well, Helen Gilbart, peeked my interest. In our conversations, it was clear that mentoring and HEF are near and dear to her heart.  As a former educator, I had always known that I would one day find a meaningful way to reconnect with students. HEF's well organized, easy initiation process along with the energetic staff and supportive programs made it the obvious answer for me. HEF is one of those "meant to be" things that life gifted me.

2. What  has been the most rewarding part of mentoring?
Watching my mentee grow academically, as well as in confidence and character, is a joy. I look forward to our weekly meetings; many times they are a highlight of my week. It is gratifying to feel that I can positively impact a deserving young person. Mentoring is a place where I can put my life experiences to someone else's good use.  I like the role of encourager and cheer-leader and I truly feel that my support is actually making a difference. My mentee flatters me when she indicates that she hopes to maintain contact beyond graduation. Of course, the feeling is mutual!

3. What do you believe is the key to being a quality mentor?
Active listening and genuine engagement are two very simple but necessary keys. We routinely explore her academic and non-academic concerns, their potential answers and which ones will likely lead to the best result. I believe that "mentor" is a position of real responsibility. A HEF mentor may be the only adult, beyond parent(s), to which a student can turn for advice. The ability to explore topics with an empathetic adult in a non-judgmental fashion is important.
4.When you are not working with students, how do you prefer to spend your free time?
Being newly retired, I am enjoying simply having more time to call my own.  Time with family and friends is a treasure.  I practice Tai Chi and enjoy meditative activities that include drawing and watercolor painting.  These are endeavors in which I have no natural abilities, believe me.  I thoroughly enjoy reading as well as being outdoors.  My orchids are about to receive some much needed attention.  Wondering through an art show or museum is a great way to while away an afternoon; either that or being on the beach.
5. What do you hope your mentee will learn from you?
Opportunities for learning never stop. My mentee knows that, as a reader, I often need to use tools (apps) such as the obvious one, the dictionary. Vocabulary is key. I hope for my mentee to stay inquisitive; to be not only "interested" but "interesting". HEF activities (such as the one we attended at the Tampa Museum of Art) provide terrific ways to expand horizons. Being a well-rounded person with an array of experiences helps one navigate confidently through the world. Seize every opportunity you can! Circumstances do not control one's ability to be successful. Grit, fortitude, belief in oneself and a willingness to try new things (and maybe even fail) are factors that ultimately spell success. I hope my mentee knows that she has everything she needs to succeed in this world, because she does. 

Skills For Life Report

January: Professionalism

Those who act with professionalism and a good attitude know how to remain calm in difficult situations, dedicate themselves to building upon their skills, honor commitments, and accept responsibility for their actions. A professional knows how to look the part inside and out. A professional gets the job done and garners the respect of those around them because of it. 

The  Skills for Life   Toolkit has four activities that focus on professionalism both in the workplace and in the student's personal life. As a mentor, showing professionalism can be just as impactful as the activities and should be practiced throughout mentoring your student.  

1)  Students watch everything we do, so we must model what we expect. Teachers arrive to class on time, prepared and organized. As a mentor, arrive to your mentoring sessions on time and prepared to mentor. Allow students into your process. Let them see how you plan; how a mess becomes something meaningful. Lead by example - in every way. We need to show students trust and respect, especially as these two behaviors are essential in maturity.

2) Really observe kids and listen. Highlight their good qualities regularly and then empower them to help their peers. Suggest they use their strengths to help other students, the buddy relationship can help students learn to be responsible to some one else. Have students keep track of their own progress in a way that is meaningful to them. 

3) Foster creativity by establishing an environment where taking risks is rewarded. The focus can't be on getting it right, but rather trying, experimenting and innovating. Celebrate the failed attempts as much as successes so students continue to take risks, a very important skill for aiding in developing creativity. In addition to this, students need time to practice. Give them time to work on seeing an idea through until the end.

4) Teach students to use calendars to help them organize and stay on time. Alarms can be set on phones using Google calendar or in a lo-fi example, color coding a planner can help aid students who need work on neatness, punctuality and organization. Again, encourage students to find a method that works after you've shown them a few different ways. This will help with deadlines as well. Deadlines are a part of life. 

Talk with your student this month about professionalism, and complete the activities found in Chapter 5 of the Skills for Life workbook. 

If you have not taken advantage of this toolkit, we recommend contacting William Dailey ( wdailey@educationfoundation.com) to request a hard copy. Otherwise, please refer to our digital download option list below. If you decide to use it or are currently doing so, please provide us your feedback so we may continue to refine and improve this resource for our mentors and mentees.

Join our NEW
Mentors Facebook Group!

Stay up-to-date on all our Mentor resources and events or share your experiences mentoring for others! 

A NEW virtual meeting place for us to get together -  Join our HEF Mentors Facebook Group today!

Mentor Resource Alert

We have heard from numerous mentors over the years that one area that students need to improve upon is their time management skills. In fact, many students cite time management as an area of improvement, especially when confronted with below-standard grades. And it makes sense, time management is not something comes naturally to many people; it is an art that needs to be practiced and fine-tuned to fit an individual's needs. If you believe this would be of particular interest to your mentee, we encourage you to utilize the PDF below. This includes a worksheet with recommendations and exercises for students to utilize in order to improve their time management capability. 



Volunteer Day

We would like to thank all of the students, mentors and parents who participated in our volunteer service opportunity on Monday, January 8th at Metropolitan Ministries. We had a wonderful experience and truly enjoy seeing students and mentors interact outside of school. It's a fun and different way to get to know each other and we hope everyone gets a chance to experience it. We plan on organizing more of these volunteer projects in the near future. We are also open to YOUR suggestions about volunteer projects. If you have an idea, or are looking for support in an event that you participate in, please share it with us!

Mark Your Calendar!

Scholarship Application Reviews
(Volunteer Opportunity for Mentors) 
February 1 HEF
Etiquette & Volunteerism Workshop* 
(Freshman & Sophomores Only) 
March 13 HEF
Alumni Mixer & Panel Event
(Student and Mentor Opportunity)
March 15

The College Success Team
William Dailey      Julia Carter      Jocelin Tapia      Anna Laird   
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If you know someone who is interested in mentoring, 
have them visit our website for more information: