SB Mentoring Benefits from Seasoned Mentors’ Guidance

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Thursday January 26, 2012

“School-based mentoring enriches a community through one shared experience at a time.” ~ Kristen Hayden-West, SB Mentoring Advisory Board member and HowardCenter Community Friends Mentoring Coordinator.

SB Mentoring, the school-based mentoring program in the three South Burlington School District elementary schools, may be brand new, but it is already benefitting from the wisdom and experience of seasoned mentors who are lending their voices and guidance to the program.

 L to R: Back row - Annette Harton, Bill Minard, Karin Clarke, and Matt MacNeil (of HowardCenter). Front row - Kristen Hayden-West (of HowardCenter), Kellie Erickson, Susan Sobczak, and Roddy O’Neil Cleary.

 L to R: Back row - Angela Ferro, Robin Hall, Brenda Balon, Christine Kaufman, Sheri Hill, Chuck Opferman.  Front row - Kris Magnant, Kristen Hayden-West, Carol Hunsinger, Liselotte Leicht, Alganesh Michael, and Megan Bridges (SB Mentoring Advisory Board member). Missing from photos:  John Geracie, Leanna Hammond, Diane Kinnon, Mary Loyer, and Susie Merrick.


Resident Patrick Leduc, a member of the SB Mentoring Advisory Board, noted, “I’ve been a mentor for about sixteen years now. I’ve mentored four young men, two for long stints and two for short durations. All those relationships have been and continue to be very important to me and I think to the young men as well.”

“The biggest reason I chose to be a mentor,” Mr. Leduc continued, “was that the idea of having a caring adult present for the sole purpose of reinforcing the individual value of a young person just seemed like such a beautifully simple and direct attack on the challenges that many young people face. When I was a young person, I had great, attentive, and loving parents. I just needed a bit more. Mentoring fills that need, simply and directly.”

Resident Ken Dattilio, also a long-time mentor and consultant to SB Mentoring, explained, “I got involved in mentoring for many reasons, mainly because I was very fortunate in my early childhood to be surrounded by a very loving family that was deeply involved in serving the community and our country.”

“My father Mike Dattilio,” Mr. Dattilio recalled, “and his brothers Anthony, Norino, and Vince proudly served for many years protecting our freedom and serving their community in a variety of ways. It made a lasting impression on me, namely, every one of us has something to give back, especially to a child. If what little time we share with someone can help them make responsible decisions, take the right path to make smart choices, and help them realize they can accomplish any goal, then our community benefits from those efforts.”

“An hour a week seems so insignificant,” concluded Mr. Leduc, in reference to the SB Mentoring program, “but its impact can be life changing.”
SB Mentoring invites caring, respectful adults from the community to give one hour of their time per week during the school year to a child. For more information on the program, please go to, and choose “Mentoring” from the left-hand menu. Applications are already being accepted for 2012-2013 mentors. Questions? Please contact SB Mentoring Coordinator Susie Merrick at or 652.7186 (please leave a message).

SOURCE: Susie Merrick, Contributor