The French moralist, Joseph Joubert once said, “Children need models rather than critics.”
Modeling, or mentoring as it is referred to at New Beginnings Family Academy, is a unique and powerful way to connect with one of our 500 students, says Audrey Nefores who coordinates NBFA’s mentor program.
“The purpose of the mentor program is to help our students build relationships for positive change,” said Nefores. “Our mentor program complements our progressive education model. It’s been a pleasure to watch the deep connections that have developed between students and mentors through the program.”
Our current mentors are a diverse and passionate group of community members with a desire to help our students believe in their abilities, dream big and achieve their goals. Students are identified for the program and matched with a mentor who compliments their interests and unique needs.
“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.” — Maya Angelou
Though every mentor/mentee relationship is different, the one common experience all mentors seem to share in working with NBFA students is that one day it ‘clicks’ and mentors can sense they are making a difference in the life and mindset of the student. Establishing these strong one-on-one adult connections impacts our students – they feel heard and mentors help broaden their horizons and foster hope.
“When I first started working with a quiet student, I sometimes questioned if I was really making an impact, but one day I was leaving the school after spending time with my mentee and that changed,” said Mylena Teixeria from People’s United Bank, who is a NBFA Board member and has mentored NBFA students for the past four years. “As I was walking out the door, she looked over and said, ‘You know, I’m glad you’re my mentor.’ That warmed my heart.”
We are grateful to Mylena and her employer People’s United Bank, who have helped support and promote NBFA and encourage their employees to take advantage of the opportunity to mentor/volunteer at our school. We are proud of our partnership with them and appreciate the many mentors that have come to us from People’s United Bank.
“I love working with kids and thought it would be fun,” said Mylena, a Bridgeport native. “My experience with mentoring has been positive. I’ve mentored two students now and I’ve enjoyed my experiences with both of them greatly.”
Consistency and compassion are the two most important elements of the program. Mentors and mentees meet once a week for about 30-40 minutes.
“If you have a heart for children and a few minutes a week to spare, you could make a tremendous difference in the life of a NBFA student,” says Ronelle Swagerty, District Director/ Chief Executive Officer.
If you are interested in learning more about mentoring, or our other volunteering opportunities, please contact Audrey Nefores today at 203-610-6267 or email@example.com.