SB Mentoring Advisory Board Members: (back row, left to right) Aili Beeli, Catherine Shahan, Megan Bridges. (front row, left to right) Patrick Leduc, Madelyn Nash, Sam Parizo, Karen Detterman.  (Missing from photo: Carey Austin, Susie Merrick, Caryn Olivetti, and Marissa Strayer-Benton.)

Advisory Board Charts the Course for SB Mentoring

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Thursday March 21, 2013

“An additional caring adult in the life of a child promotes constructive aspirations, feelings of self-worth, and confidence.” ~ Patrick Leduc, SB Mentoring Advisory Board member and long-time community mentor.

“It takes one person to make a difference in the life of a child. Be that person.” ~ National Mentoring Partnership

The work of the SB Mentoring Advisory Board is behind the scenes and yet critically important to ensure that the program remains ethical and true to its mission.  In its second year, SB Mentoring is a partnership between the South Burlington School District and HowardCenter that matches adults one-on-one with children from Chamberlin, Orchard, and Rick Marcotte Central School for one hour per week of child-focused, fun activities designed to uncover young people’s “sparks”: their passions and interests (The Search Institute).

Members of the Advisory Board include the following:  Carey Austin and Sam Parizo (South Burlington High School seniors), Aili Beeli (Orchard School), Megan Bridges (community member), Karen Detterman (Chamberlin School), Patrick Leduc (community member), Susie Merrick (SB Mentoring Coordinator), Madelyn Nash (Rick Marcotte Central School), Caryn Olivetti (F.H. Tuttle Middle School), Catherine Shahan (HowardCenter), and Marissa Strayer-Benton (community member).

“While the South Burlington school staff already does a great job of supporting students,” explained Ms. Bridges, a parent in the community, “there is no question that all children can benefit from additional one-to-one time during the school day.”  Educator Ms. Detterman agreed and added, “Mentoring affects the development of confidence and competence in my students with both outcomes leading to increased achievement.”

“It is clear from the eager anticipation the mentees show for their mentors,” reflected Ms. Nash on the children’s response to the program, “that the time together is important to them.  Having a mentor contributes to the child’s resilience -- having many caring adults in a child’s life increases this characteristic.”

“In my many years as a school counselor in Vermont,” continued Ms. Olivetti, “I believe the positive relationships developed between students and caring adults is by far the most beneficial ingredient needed for our students’ success in school and life.”

In closing, summed up Ms. Nash, “Every child deserves a mentor.  It truly does take a village.”

For more information on SB Mentoring, please go to and choose “Mentoring” from the left-hand menu or contact SB Mentoring Coordinator Susie Merrick at or 652-7186.

SOURCE:  Susie Merrick