Archive for July, 2009

Supporting Mentors

July 31, 2009

Tehama has a remarkable cadre of mentors throughout the county who are supporting youth by sharing what they know with their own personal style. While each relationship is unique, there are often universal issues faced by all who  step into the roll of a mentor. That’s why the Tehama County Mentoring Program offers monthly Mentor Gatherings for its mentors. These are fun, confidential gatherings of mentors and staff to discuss mentoring, share ideas and brainstorm ways to enrich the program and our mentoring relationships.

We always feed our mentors at these gatherings, and that most certainly includes dessert!

Visit us at the farmers market!

July 22, 2009

logo 2004While you’re picking up fresh summer veggies,  fruits and flowers  at the Wednesday night farmers market in Red Bluff, stop by the mentoring booth and pick up an application to become a mentor!

Mentoring staff are sharing a booth with the Local Childcare Planning Council and will be available to answer questions and share information on the unique fun of mentoring an area child.  Summer is the perfect time to begin the application process to become a school-based mentor in the fall!

TCMP Mentor is Volunteer of the Year!

July 14, 2009

The Tehama County Mentoring Program congratulates mentor Barbara Walls for being named Volunteer of the Year by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Tehama County!

This exciting announcement was made April 24 at a gala luncheon attended by representatives from the offices of US Representative Wally Herger, State Senator Sam Aanestad, and State Assemblyman Jim Nielsen. Tehama County Chief Administrator Bill Goodwin and Supervisor Charles Willard were also in attendance.

Barbara has been matched with her mentee, Dacoda, since March of 2006. A resident of Orland, Barbara made a commitment to mentoring in Tehama County when she realized Glenn County does not have a formal mentoring program. How lucky we have been to have her! Barbara and Dacoda have been quite the pair, enjoying everything from bocce ball to baking, arts and crafts to sports.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program invites adults 55 and older to contribute to their communities through volunteer service. The Tehama County Mentoring Program has been a host site for RSVP members since 2004 and has grown to rely on the experiences provided by mentors in this category. Other RSVP mentors are Gertrude Crossman, and Pem Lester, both of Corning and Tresha Wing of Red Bluff.

Barbara and Dacoda: Bonded in Bocce

DSC01551There is one thing Barbara Walls and her mentee Dacoda just can’t seem to agree upon: bocce ball. More specifically, who gets to wear the title “Queen of Bocce.” Each has crowned herself with the title and is adamantly unwilling to relinquish it to the other.

Bocce ball is one of several new activities Dacoda is trying with her mentor Barbara. “Friendly competition” is how they describe their play but it’s clear they’re both serious about the game. Dacoda, who had never played the game before meeting Barbara, can give a detailed description of how it’s played, following up with a look of pride at her mentor saying, “She’s the one who taught me that.”

In addition to bocce ball, the two enjoy trying new recipes in the kitchen, planting things in the yard, and arts and crafts. They’ve explored area parks, seen movies together and are enjoying the menu at Taco Bell. They also enjoy swimming. “We’re water girls,” says Barbara.

“We celebrate birthdays together”, says Dacoda, making sure to add that “We make brownies and cakes.” With this, Barbara gives a wink, knowing full well Dacoda is just making sure no one forgets that her birthday is only one month away. And it’s hard for everyone to believe that this birthday will see Dacoda turn 11 years old. The two were matched when she was eight. For Dacoda, “Miss Barbara” has become an important part of her life. “It’s kind of like a new family member for us,” she says. For Barbara, being matched with Dacoda gives her an opportunity to have children in her life again, something she has missed since her own children have grown.

Mentoring is more than an opportunity to try new activities for Dacoda. It’s an opportunity to try new ways of interacting with people and learning effective ways of communication. She can recall not being able to apologize to anyone for anything when she first met her mentor, including the time she accidentally hit Barbara with a rock in the garden. These days Dacoda says, “We talk a lot about feelings.” She can apologize now and has learned that “you don’t have to hold grudges.”

For Barbara’s part, she enjoys mentoring because, “It’s a creative outlet. It’s teaching, learning, experiencing. Our motto has been ‘Always do your best and do the next Right Thing’ It means to think about what you’re getting ready to do and make a choice.”

Dacoda, hugging Barbara, adds “Sometimes she can’t figure out her problems and I have to help her and sometimes I can’t figure out my problems and she has to help me.” They both agree that their mentoring relationship can be summed up with one word: caring.

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Summer Scrapbooking!

July 9, 2009

Summer is a time to not only create special memories, but to record them creatively. The Tehama County Mentoring ProgramBaseball and Scrapbooking016 offers students and mentors a chance to create personal and unique scrapbooks on a weekly basis in both Corning and Red Bluff. The summer scrapbooking series is sponsored by the Tehama County Police Actvities League, which has purchased supplies including archival-quality papers, stickers, cutting implements and adhesives. Participants need only bring favorite photos and other items to record in their scrapbooks.

Future scrapbooking classes are offered:

Mentoring keeps you young!

July 1, 2009

dsc00060For 74 year old Corning resident Pem Lester, mentoring through the Tehama County Mentoring Program is a bit like visiting the proverbial fountain of youth. “It keeps you younger, it keeps your mind working,” she says. “And of course, it helps the kids.”

Active in the Tehama County Cattlewomen, Corning Exchange Club and two flower clubs, Pem is hardly the type to sit around watching TV, but she says mentoring is a great way to keep her from sitting around the house all day and gives her something worthwhile to do. “There are so many kids out there that need help,” she says.

Pem is matched as a Mentor-Tutor at a Corning SERRF After School Program site. She meets once a week with her mentee to concentrate on the girl’s homework and literacy skills. “I hope she’s becoming more focused. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Many seniors are afraid that an age gap will keep them from connecting with younger children, but Pem has no problem with the difference in ages. “I handle it as being a grandma,” she says “I think the kids really like the idea of having a grandma around. One boy (at the SERRF site) kept asking me how old I am, but you have to take it in context. They want a grandma!”

Pem is simultaneously enrolled in the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), of which Tehama County Mentoring Program is a service site. As an RSVP, Pem receives additional support and recognition with this cadre of senior volunteers. The Mentoring Program is her second RSVP placement. She started with the program seven years ago as a literacy volunteer at the Antelope School library in Red Bluff.

Pem is very clear about why she devotes time to mentoring: “My main goal is to help kids. If you don’t help them then they go astray and we pay for them in prison. We want to keep them out of prison and help them have a better life. If I had more time, I’d mentor another student!”

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