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Welcome to Mentor Tributes. We hope you find these tributes inspiring and meaningful. Tributes are displayed alphabetically by the mentor's last name. Please use the index on the left sidebar to search for a specific tribute.

* The Harvard Mentoring Project makes no effort to ascertain the authenticity or accuracy of any tributes posted on this web site.

Mentor: Dr. Abbey Aikon

My life would not have even existed if I was not born. So I must thank my parents first( Dr. K.V. Thadani and Mrs Veena K. Thadani, and God who taught me how to survive and helped me through some form or other meeting the right person at the right time or an excellent idea, or coming up with after reading a magazine who would buy me the best always, and spoilt me. I always got the best from my dad, and the virtues from my mom,(MRS VEENA. K Thadani).I wish to thank my sisters,Geethu, KAVI, and Bharathi. I wish to thank my UNCLES, and Aunts and especially Mr. D.V Thadani,and Indru and their children My Aunts my cousin POONAM, who is my best child hood buddy and VIMMY VENUGOPAL who listened to my cribbing lectures and taught me medicine and gave me books to read. I would like to Thank ST. Francis Xavier's School my teachers at Jyoti Nivas, Victoria Hospital, Lima Emmanuel,My husband Rupen is the pillar of my strength, and instrumental in being WHAT I AM TODAY. My Teachers at UCSF- AMY Shiratsuki, Dr. Abbey Alkon,( FOR sharing her research knowledge, and helping me designing reseach questions, and teaching me more research), Dr. Bill Holzemer( for power, and gifts from Japan), Dr. Chafetz, Dr. Froelicher, Dr. Afaf Melies, Dr. Angela Banks, Dr. Min Sohn Dr. Mary WHite, Dr. Sally Rankin, Dr. Steve Paul, Dr.Bruce Cooper, Dr. Hully, Jenny Phelps who read my rubbish paragraphs.. and taught me how to write one paragraph at a time.., Dimitri, and GP( who read my rubbish paragraphs.. and Jim Grout who would just listen when I cried and teach me whenever he had the time, and I guess UCSF at large. So just a BIG Thank You and I feel I am so blessed with everything. I have everything. No regrets.

Neelam Chanda
San Francisco, CA

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Mentor: Shawn Alexander

Shawn Alexander is one of the most important mentors that I have had in my life. He is my best friend that lives in Las Vegas where I used to live. I met him on the first day of school in my German class. We were both freaked out freshmen in a class of all Juniors and Seniors. We had that we-need-to-stick-together-or-we're-dead attitude so we instantly became friends. We hung out almost everyday and usually played video games or watched movies. That's about the time when I started to get really interested in video games. However, I wasn't really into computers that much. That is until I went over to Shawn's house one day. He had told me to come over because he wanted to show me something that he was really excited about. When I got to his room, I noticed that he had a brand new computer and that there was a bunch of programming boxes everywhere. I asked him where he got his cool new computer and he said that he hadn't bought a new computer. I was confused and he saw that so he explained that he had only bought a new case for the computer and that he had rebuilt his old computer inside the new casing. I was amazed. I thought 'How is this possible?!' He was only 15 years old and was already building his own computers. Then he shocked me even more when he showed me what he was working on with his new programs that he bought. He had made his own computer games by programming his computer to be able to use the types of software that were needed. I couldn?t believe it. Not only was he building and modifying his own computers, but he was also creating and programming his own games. For the rest of that day I sat there with him and played with his game. It was a blast. After I got home, I thought about how cool it would be to be able to make my own games. From that point on I was hooked on games and anything that had to do with a computer. Shawn got me interested in creating and designing computer games and programs, which I am making my life career.

Zachary Atchley
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Yvonne Alfred

This is long over due. If we never meet again Ms. Alfred, my 4th grade teacher that taught me how to read, I thank you. If you never teach another class, know the difference you made for one. If there is ever a time in your life that you may feel down, know in your heart how you lifted up one, that really needed it. Bless you, take care.

Katrius Muhammad
Guthrie, OK

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Mentor: Leticia Anderson

My friend Leticia Anderson has been a mentor to me. She has taught me to be patient and to wait for the things I want. It was just a few weeks ago whe we were out shopping for cloth and I found what I wanted. We walked uo to the cashier and there was the longest line ever. We got in line and waited there forever, it felt like we were there forever atleast. I started to get very impatient and thats when it started to feel like it was taking for ever. Leticia turned to me and told me to be be patient and I tried to be. The line then felt like it was moving much faster. We finally got up to the cashier and paid for our things. We left the store and went to another one. I got the things I wanted and waited in line. but this time I waited in line patiently and the line moved so much quicker. I was more patient this time and it felt so much better. I was able to get to the cashier sooner and I was able to get out of the store in a timely manner. So I have learned to be patient when I am waiting for something. Leticia has taught me a lot from this experience. I have been more patient with everything.

Ashley C.
Kennewick, WA

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Mentor: Mrs. Anthony

Mrs Anthony was a 9th grade teacher in the Neptune NJ School system. I was placed in a testbed for accelerated students; we has a large rug in the classroom and we rested on pillows while we were in the learning environment. Truth be told; at the time I despised this woman, so sure of herself and self righteous in her approach. Conversely; for some strange reason, she adored me. She always spoke of "The Method" which she espoused a philosophy that a task can be done many ways...but only ONE way was best...THAT was "The Method". "That is YOUR task", she would say..."to FIND The Method". Today I'm a 51 year old Electronics Engineer who owns his own Business, and not a single day goes by that I tackle a project and don't hear her admonition. "The Method" has served me well...sadly, I never had the opportunity to thank her for her sage insight, as Mrs. Anthony has since passed away. I will forever be in her debt, and her legacy will live on in me.

David Mains
Neptune, NJ

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Mentor: Mrs. B.

My mentor is my 9th grade English teacher Mrs. B. She gave me the tools on how to make good essays and poetry. She always gave me her full attention and help when I needed it and taught me how to think outside the box. Without her I would not be the writer that I am today. I am very grateful to have her as a mentor.

Olivia Baker, age 15
Mesquite, TX

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Mentor: Rachael Bandur

My mentor, Rachael, is not only a role model but also a true friend. I can always count on her when I need her. She's always someone I can talk to without worrying that she might tell everyone else. Rachael is funny and enthusiastic.

In some ways, Rachael is my rock. She listens when I need her to, she's a friend when I need advice, and she's a role model when I need someone to look up to. She's never judgmental and it's nice to be able to vent to someone without being criticized. Never have I ever second-guessed her as a friend. We share with each other our dreams, our hopes, our fears and our goals. Being a mentor is one thing; a lot of people can just volunteer once a week. Becoming a friend, a true friend that someone, another person, can count on when they need to, is a totally different thing. It's a huge accomplishment when you stop being a mentor and start being a friend. And that's exactly what Rachael is to me. My friend.

Samantha B., 15
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Tina Bardwell

Tina Bardwell is my mother. I know a lot of people would say their parents were their role models but my mom has gone beyond that. She is my mom, my insperation, my role model, my best friend, and my hero. my mom is one of the nicest, outgoing people i know, but she also has a sassy side which I love. She surprises people all the tim with her attitude. My mom is also a very good cook she makes everything I love just so she can see me happy. I think my mom is the best one i have met so far. My mom once told me i could do anything i wanted to with my life if i wanted it bad enough i would set my mind to it and i would get it. For a girl with my dreams that ment a lot. There was one time i lived in utah and she lived in washington at the time i got in a car accident i didnt think of anything but to call her. She called everyone and told them to get there now! she showed me no matter how far apart we were she would always be there. I love my life everything about it i enjoy but if i didnt have my mom it wouldnt be the same. She made me who i am today. A strong independent girl who has i high head and will walk tall no matter how dark the situation there will be dark at night but morning will always come with the sun shining bright. If i could pick one person to be out of all the celebs and singers, movie stars or rock stars i would pick my mom!

Britany Brierley
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Rita Barger

I will never forget Rita Barger. From eighth grade on, she has mentored me and challenged me to do my best at anything I try. She routinely stays late to help all of her students, and often puts aside research and preparation for major projects in order to be available. She encourages calls to her office to answer questions, as well. Rita is a wonderful person who exemplifies excellence in teaching and she should be held among the finest in the profession. I should know...I became a teacher because of her guidance and dedication to children and the future. I could only dream of being half as good as she is! Thank you, Rita!

Melynda Reeter
Mission, KS

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Mentor: Tom Barker

You have helped me... But seriously, thanks for taking the time to answer the many questions that I have had over the last year. I have learned a lot and expect I will learn much more. Thanks,


Adam Glaser
Memphis, TN

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Mentor: Virginia Bascom

A ward of the court, my days were filled with depressing people telling me that I would never amount to anything because of my lot in life. Despite my hard work, stable personality and my drive, I was told that "statistically speaking", chances of me making anything of myself were not very good. During my early college years, struggling to survive on minimum wage, going to school full time, working as an Intern for no pay, Mrs. Bascom provided me with the motivation to keep my goals alive, she encouraged me with kind words and what I valued most was that she believed in me. This quiet strength and advice she offered, was what got me through my darkest hours. She also hired me as a professional when I graduated and 20 years later we are still very close friends.

Irene Pabon
Ocoee, FL

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Mentor: Hadley Becha

I would like to sincerly thank Mr. Becha for being my mentor. When I met you, my life changed. You have taught, guided, counselled and motivated me. I am who I am because of your love patience and support. Thank you for helping me get education, assisting with my assignment, giving me character, correcting me where i go wrong and being my daddy and a daddy to my sisters too. You are my role model. You have achieved great things in life and i promise i will not let you down. I will work hard to make you proud. May God bless you and your family and give you long life, health and wealth. I love you daddy..

Mary Nyumu
Nairobi, Kenya

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Mentor: Violet Begay

My mentor taught me that everything in the world has consequences. Also that everything that happens in the world happens for a meaning not one accident.

Kathleen Thompson
Cortez, CO

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Mentor: Peter Black

My mentor Peter is very nice.I think he is nice because he got me a dictionary for Christmas holiday.He is also checking my homework everyday that I see him.I think that he is the nicest mentor in the whole entire world. This is my tribute about my mentor.


Winston Khuu
Costa Mesa, CA

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Mentor: Rachel and Beckie Blackburn

It takes a difficult case to require two co-mentors. that case happens to be me. I would like to thank Rachel and Beckie for the way that they live their lives each hard working and willing to help anyone. I appreciate the knowledge and example they provide in the workplace. The things that have been most valuable to me as their protégé is the integrity, work ethic and love for family they share in every aspect of their lives. Each day I watch in amazement as they balance work and family performing each duty with excellence. While both Beckie and Rachel are very unique individuals, I respect these common values they share, and enjoy their individuality. It seems that I have a built in panel of support and would also like to thank the life coaches in my life. Tricia and Jamie thank you for the guidance and understanding that you so freely give! You guys are the best! I really feel blessed for all the wonderful individuals in my life these relationships have shaped who I am, and enriched any attribute I may have. I hope that I have and will be able to contribute a portion of what these ladies have gifted me in my life. You are truly amazing women. Thanks for all you do!

Amanda Farley Olsen
Copperton, UT

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Mentor: Terry Brockett

Mrs. Brockett was my third grade teacher who instilled confidence in me through her innovative teaching techniques. She strove to make every student feel special and often broke the class into small groups where she could work with students better. I remember her always telling me I should be a lawyer since I was always concerned with what is fair and constantly speaking my mind-she had a knack for recognizing and encouraging specific qualities of her students. Third grade is when I really began to feel smart because she helped me feel that way. My parents always thought Mrs. Brockett was crazy, but it was her zany character that made me like her so much and remember her influence even to this day.

Lindsay Callahan
Wyckoff, NJ

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Mentor: Gregory Brodaczynski

My mom's boyfriend; Greg who has been with our family for the past eight years has been teaching me how to be responsible with my money and spend it wisely. This way I can go to college and have a future with no debt and a descent lifestyle. Greg has been teaching me about stocks and bonds and watching the stock markets. Also where to put my money for example which banks. This is so because interest rates at different banks are really important because it will determine how much money will get in return for choosing their bank. I opened a CD account at Yakima Federal at 4.37% and after a month of my account being stuck at this rate it went up everytime their rates went up. It was at 100 dollar incriments and so I put in $500 to make it grow at a rapid rate. The CD account ends after 18 months and I can leave it for the next term or take it out. Also him and my mom opened me a checking account to teach me how to be more responsible with my money in the bank and my paychecks. Every month I pay $87 in car insurance and I pay for my own gas, clothes, animals, and everything I own. At times it can be difficult because I love shopping and spending money but I get reminded about saving for college. This helps stop me. When I first started learning how to save I would watch Suze Orman and other people's mistakes. I rarely watch her now. Now i focus on what the stocks are doing; whether they are going up or down. All in all he has taught me so much. I now know a lot about maoney and responsibility and I am so grateful for this.

Jessica Spence
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Ted Brody

My name is JoAnne: I was very young and gullible girl,at 20. I went to work as a secratary and grew to a WORLD WISE PERSON I consider myself today. Strong, wise and always thinking. I became a creative and great KITCHEN DEIGNER. No school or college, JUST "TEDDY" Now I am a Woman of 52, I attribute my success and knowledge to my best person in the world "TEDDY". There was no one better in math, sales,or criticism when due then "MY POOGY BEAR". Every day that goes by I thank him from Heaven for what he has taught me. There are still times in my struggling life when I need him and he still TEACHES ME through my thoughts and dreams. He is my reality. ox Zelda

Jo-Anne D'Ascoli
Brewster, NY

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Mentor: Dr. Michael Brooks

Dr. micheal brooks, a socioloy professor at valdosta state has been a mentor to me in many different ways. he has encouraged me to give my best no matter what others think or say. his fantastic teaching style has given me a better outlook on life because thinking not only happens in the classroom but in everything you as a person does in everyday life. finally, dr. brooks has showed me that even thought that i have a disability to where i walk on crutches i can do anything i put my mind too. DR. MICHEAL BROOKS you are father that i always wanted and a mentor i can look up too, and a friend i will never lose...

James Turner
Valdosta, GA

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Mentor: Kevin Browett

How do you put a price on experience, how do you put a value on belief? It takes a great person to extend grace and kindness, it takes someone extraordinary to be a mentor.. I have been blessed to be mentored by someone who is not only an exceptional business role model but also an inspiring human. Someone who understands the importance of being a good person first and foremost and the total confidence that the rest will follow. Observing the entire dance from beginning to end and knowing why each step was taken is a lesson that few people are fortunate enough to experience. He has encouraged me to learn by example, has given me the space to be an individual, the time to make my own way. He has consistently exhibited the wisdom to steer, the discipline to correct errors, the patience and the long suffering normally reserved only for ones own family. This has inspired me to make each of these characteristics a part of my work ethic and human experience. Each day I wonder how I managed to blip onto his radar and hope that it isn?t a fluke. This relationship is the turning point in my professional career. This relationship is a gift for which I will be eternally grateful for.

Kelli Baird
Southfield, MI

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Mentor: Charlie Buckingham

What can I say about Charlie... She was 22 and a mother of two beautiful babies. Blaine is 4 and Caydence is 2. She was killed in April 2006 almost a year ago and left behind her babies for to carry her memory. I met Charlie at work. She wasn't just a friend to me she became my best friend and I hopes she still knows that. Charlie loved unconditionally, she would help anyone and everyone in need. She always took care of others and made sure they were care for. She taught me love and patience, how to care for someone without being doubtful of them. To give everyone a chance and to know everyone makes mistakes but if you keep a grudge it makes matters worse. She loved her kids more than her life... to this day her love is still around me when I see those bright blue eyes in Caydence. Charlie was the best mommy in many ways... from being patient to knowing when to discipline them. She never once had to raise her voice to them. Cared for them when they had a boo boo. I miss her more than anything or anyone in this world. She was a mentor and I hope someday when I have kids I can be half the mom she was. If you could have met her big blue eyes you would have known that love and kindness were surrounding you.

Jaime Cummings

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Mentor: Thomas Burke

My mentor has been there for me in different ways. The biggest thing that my mentor has shown me is I need to quit getting in trouble. I am learning to accept responsibility for my own actions, I have not been in as much trouble since I have known my mentor. He also has shown me the value of having an education. He has encouraged me to do better and make better choices. I really want to further my education, I would like to attend Michigan State university and earn my degree to become a special education teacher. I am glad the Florence Crittenton Services of Jackson have a mentoring program, I don't think I would have been able to meet my mentor if had I not been with this program.

Robert Christopher
Jackson, MI

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Mentor: Vinnie Calvanese

My brother Vinnie has mentored me throughout my entire life. When I think back on it I do not where I would be at this point in my life without the guidance of my brother. He has taught me so many different things in relation to responsibility, respect, hard work, and so much more. I strive to try to be as good as he is. We spent every day together for years which is where a great deal of my learning occurred. Although there were times where I thought I knew what I was doing and I did things that were not very smart, I look back on it now and realize how exactly right my brother was in what he was teaching me and how I should have listened to him the whole time. At this point in my life I have developed into a great person and I do not think I would be who I was today without having my brother as a mentor. I hope to provide a good example for the children that I am lucky enough to mentor throughout the upcoming semester. I want to work closely with the children to give them the advantage of good interpersonal skills at a much younger age. When I think back on my experience growing up, I would have benefited greatly from a program like this. I just hope to make a positive change in each student's life.

Luke Calvanese

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Mentor: Stanley Caradine

Stanley Caradine is my best friend i saw Stan back in 1986 i don;t have a brother; so he is like a brother to me. He told me about classical music and it is because of Stan that i have culture in classical music. I have over 500 cd;s and we attend a lot of concerts; We are attending a concert in June of this year.So this my Tribute.

Michael Glass
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Carma Carpenter

I would like to thank my mentor and my best friend for the comforting in a situation I went through when I was 3 years old.  I was sexually abused by my father and she helped me through it.  I did not tell anyone until I was 13 or 14 years old.  And again, she is and will always be my number one friend and mentor.  I am now 33 years old and I can still talk to her about any and everything.  Oh and did I mention, she is my aunt.  Aunt Carma, I love you dearly.  Love your niece Renee Lane.

Renee Lane
Columbia, SC

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Mentor: Joanna Cataldo

I met Joanna when she was a sophomore at Harvard and I was a seven year old child who recently emigrated from Liberia. She was my camp counselor at a Phillips Brooks House summer program. For years I didn't know how to explain our relationship to other people because she is really a friend who happens to be 12 years my senior. At one point I began to refer to her as my "mentor." Now I believe that describes her best because she has been a resource of wisdom and insight. Joanna has also been like sister to me and played a part in easing my journey into adulthood. In the eighteen years I have known her, she has impacted my life in the simplest ways: offering a listening ear, speaking affirming words into my life, encouraging me to follow my dreams. She continues to contribute to my success and inspires me to contribute to the success of younger women in my community.

Chara Itoka
Cambridge, MA

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Mentor: Linda Causby

Miss Causby was my seventh grade math and science teacher. She was tough -- many students were afraid of her because she expected so much from us. It didn't take long for me to realize that she expected so much because she believed in us, and wanted us to stretch our minds and challenge ourselves. I've been so fortunate to have many great teachers. But teachers like Miss Causby often don't hear from their students after those students have grown enough to appreciate what gifts their teachers gave them. Miss Causby, thank you...about 25 years later. I'm an Associate Professor at a University now, educating others and expecting great things from my students, the same way you did for us all. I hope that I can pass the torch on to just a few students, so your light can shine in them, too.

Katharine Stewart
Little Rock, AR

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Mentor: Holly Chacon

My best friend Holly has always been there for me. Since we first met at that hockey game fifteen years ago, she hasn't given up on me. Being two weeks older than me she's like the big sister I never had. She has never had enough confidence in herself, she always puts herself down. But what she lacked in herself she gave to me. Holly is one of the few people I know who cares more about how others feel than how she feels. When we first started high school I was getting really bad grades and I started to hang around the wrong crowd of people. She always had better grades than I did, she was so smart and knew all of the right things to do. And no matter how many times I fell in our freshman year, she would always pick me back up and try to point me in a better direction. Sometimes I'd be on the verge of just giving up on school because I didn't have the grades to make it. Holly encouraged me and helped me figure everything out. She was my shoulder to cry on and my rock when everything seemed unstable. Now we're here in our senior year, ready to graduate, and she has helped me make it here. She is someone to respect. She's good hearted and puts others before herself. She's not only my mentor, but she's also one of my heroes'. There are times when I find myself trying to be like her. She's had such a big influence on my life, I don't know where I'd be today if we had never met at that hockey game, fifteen years ago.

Pamela W
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Joseph Chaisson

My Father, Joseph Chaisson, who has been deceased since 1967, was my mentor and best friend. He taught what honesty, integrity, responsibility and reliability were all about and their value, to me and to others.

Raymond Chaisson
Little River, SC

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Mentor: Pierre Chicoine

How do you start off with such a tribute.. I'm not quite sure if there's enough words that can describe my mentor! Knowing that he made me believe in myself, boosted my confidence, provided guidance, encouragement & opportunities. With his guidance I was able to take responsibilty of my life and direct it in the direction I decided rather than leaving it to chance! Through all of this, I achieved a partnership let alone a friendship and most of all a short-cut to which I thought was success but in the end was an eye-opening potentially rich source of learning about myself and life itself. My mentor at one point said he passed on all he could and that he completed his job & that now it's my time to put it to practice but if he could only understand that eventhough he may feel that way, in each and every conversation we have to this very day I wasn't just learning towards my career but about everday life experiences so to me I was constantly learning & believe that there is no limitations. With this being a said the definition of a mentor can only be defined as PIERRE CHICOINE himself. All his efforts, time and devoution has made an ongoing & continuous difference & with my own experience I received from him, I will keep on passing his teachings onto others so this way others too can experience what I did, and most of all I know I can be confident that true appreciation will always be carried through! Thanks Pierre aka Brat, Chico, for just being nothing more than just yourself! Your mentee & friend

Sandy Melo
Quebec, Canada

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Mentor: Jim Chinook

It was my first day of the sixth grade, I looked into my first hour class and saw a familiar face. It was my neighbor Jim, and now my new home room and English teacher. The bell rang and I hurried into the classroom to find a seat. Mr. Chinook welcomed his new class into a new world, also known as middle school. He then continued on by saying "You just opened a new door in your life, you can either leave this door open and charge through the next few years opening more doors or you can close it and leave it at that. Your life is what you make it." And that was it! The bell rang and my classmates and I filed out of the classroom silently, millions of thoughts running through our heads, My middle school career flew by but thanks to Mr. Chinook, whenever I think about giving up or slacking the words "Life is what you make it," run through my head. Mr. Chinook disontinued his Anti-depressant medication at the end of my sixth grade year and committed suicide, leaving behind a group of children in his first period class who will never stop hearing "Life is what you make it" and who never got to thank Jim for helping them make their lives what they are today good or bad. And even though he will never see this I would like to thank Jim Chinook for encouraging me to be a strong person and to never give up something important to me. I miss you Jim.

Shelby W.
Richland, WA

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Mentor: David Clark

After finishing my first year in high school, I decided to pursue an activity that would allow me to express myself, meet new friends, and make myself a better person (both intellectually and personally). Entering sophomore year, I took a Design Tech Class and learned about the Robotics Team. Being the curious person I am, I decided to check out the first meeting. To my surprise, I there was an opening for a Web designer, and knowing about HTML, I took it. Mr. Clark has greatly helped my learn more about HTML as well as taught me about professional programs like Dreamweaver and Macromedia Fireworks. He has also allowed me to express myself through the web design by letting me be creative and trying out new codes and scripts when I discovered them. Mr. Clark is very kind and thoughtful, and helps everyone on the team be the best they can be with no pressure. He is also generous and teaches you whatever you need to know. There are many more mentors that I would like to submit that also deserve it, but somehow, I feel that Mr. Clark has truly earned and deserves this award.

Maria Deslis, age 15
Louisville, CO

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Mentor: Mary Cole

Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for giving a young 14 year old girl some hope that there is more than the drudge of every day life.Thank you for taking that extra step and not shrinking away from me when I returned to school after that suicide attempt-like everyone else did. Thank you for giving me the joyful gift of music and how to share it, for making me feel special but not so special that I couldn't think of others. I know the school officials gave you the "hard" kids, the depressed kids, the ones who didn't fit in-that was me. I mentor every day of my life because of you-Mary Cole-Oxon Hill Jr. High School-1975. Thank you!!

Wanda Fowler Wilson
Los Lunas, NM

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Mentor: Anne Cooper

There is no true definition that encompasses the full significance of mentoring. To be mentored by an individual that one highly respects, admires and cherishes is invaluable. I am very fortunate to have found such a precious relationship, one that I will treasure and carry in my heart eternally. Mrs. Anne Cooper is not only vice-principal of our high school, but my teacher, my friend, my mentor, and my role model. As a current student of hers, she preaches not lessons from a curriculum, but lessons of life, teaching me every day to excel to my full potential. Mrs. Cooper’s accomplishments, both of professional and personal natures, are truly inspiring. The first female administrator of our school, and currently pursuing a doctorate degree, she inspires me in my professional goals in life. Yes, you really can achieve goals, turn dreams to realities. She is not just a mother of four children, but a mother to the entire student population of our school. As busy as her life now is, Mrs. Cooper never hesitates to give her time to me. Always there for support, comfort, encouragement, congratulations, to dry away tears, or to give a warm smile when it is truly needed, she never is selfish in personal motives. I am truly thankful to her and for her. Our relationship is unlike any other, and I know that it will not die out with time, but will only become stronger and last forever. Her words of wisdom, guidance and counsel have shaped who I am today, the child I have left behind and the woman that I am becoming. Thank you Mrs. Cooper. Thank you for your mentorship to me of time, understanding, courage and love. Thank you for all that has been said and done between us, and may we continue to grow together.

Victoria Schwarzl, 17
Port Sydney, Ontario

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Mentor: Shirley Cowder

I've known Mrs. Shirley for 4 years now. She is actually with a mentoring program for the scholarship I got in grade school. We met when i was in the 6th grade, now in the 9th, and she has made such an impact in my life.

From the first day i met her she had that vibe, ya know, i was so comfortable around her and she gave such a positive atmosphere. I knew I could pour out my soul to her. I finally had a friend to tell my deepest darkest hurts and feelings. At that time I was going through a rough time in my life and she helped me through it. She was there with a smile on her face, ready to fight any battle i had, with me. She's helped me grow so strong in Christ, in education, in really...everything. I seriously can not name any one thing she had helped me with because she's helped me with sooo much! Now she is like my best friend. We do so much together. I go to church with her, we go out to eat, the mall, and i even go to work with her sometimes. She is the best thing that God has ever blessed my life with, and i thank him everyday for her. And I want to thank her for just being the loving kind person she is! I don't know where my life would be now without her with me through my struggles. And any person who ever gets a chance to talk with this wonderful person is lucky. She's not just a mentor to me...but to everyone she comes in contact with!

Ashley Walker, 15
Valrico, FL

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Mentor: Myles Crawford

Myles is more than a mentor to me and my family. He is more like a family member. He reaches beyond the mentoring. Myles has changed my outlook for my future. I now have goals. He is always there for me. Myles is very special to me.

Carlos Martinez, age 13
Westmorland, CA

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Mentor: Millie Cruzat

This tribute is apart of many that I am far behind in submitting. Mrs. Millie Cruzat is one of my favorite mentor's, because she gave me time, atttention, care, and an opportunity where I saw none. She allowed me as a teenage parent to attend dance/aerobic classes for free; for years. This may not seem like much to some, but for me, at that time in my life, it saved me. As long as I live she and her family will always be apart of my life of giving back. That's what it really is about, giving back. Thank you.

Katrius Muhammad (Coleman)

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Mentor: Patricia Dailey

As bad as divorce can be to a young girl of 15, it would have been worse had my mom not been a "horribly mean & overly strict" mother. She had the gaul to teach me to be responsible for my actions, not lie, not cheat & to be honest. She stuck up for me when I was right & made me take the blame when it was mine. I had to work in our family store for an hour after school every day (how cruel)! She enforced virtues, morals & insisted on dedication to whatever I tried. If I wanted to play sports or learn an instrument, I had to be dedicated to it for at least a year. I didn't have to be perfect, I just wasn't allowed to give up without a trying. She made me look up big words in the dictionary if I didn't know what they meant & she made me study! Growing up, I despised the strictness of my mean mom. I was sure she had no clue what it was like to be a young girl! Today I can never say "THANK YOU!" enough to her. Her mentoring allowed me to move to a new State alone where I knew no-one, had no job or money & no clue what I was going to do. Her mentoring helped me graduate magna cum laude, become a responsible citizen, never become a victim & always be a strong individual. At 15 I never thought I would be throwing accolades to my mean mother! The families in this country needs more "mean mean moms" like mine. She isn't famous, rich, notable or anything fancy. But she was the BEST mentor that I never knew I had until I had to do it on my own.

Kenna P.
Scottsdale, AZ

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Mentor: Cindy Daly

I can't narrow down the people who have given the biggest positive impact in my life. My family has shown me what I want to be and what I definitely want to avoid. My mother has always encouraged me to do my best and her support for what I want in life has never ceased. When stress at school overwhelms me, she's always there for me to have a shoulder to cry on or just to talk to.

Ally Daly, age 15
Dallas, TX

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Mentor: Cecil Davis

I was youngest of eight, my brother, Cecil, was 6 years my elder. We'd had difficult times, when our parents divorced. He tried to attend college, but unable to, joined the Marines. I was a teenager. Starting then, he began making an impact on my life. I remember him encouraging me to pray each night. He stood up for me, when I was unable to stand for myself. He helped me see right from wrong, & stood by me through difficult times later in my life. When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he battled it with every effort, with my sister & I standing by him. Then accepting the inevitable as gracefully as he could, his last request was, although I could not change the future for him (or our niece who was also dying of the same disease), to do all I could to change the future for others. Since then, I have strived to support the efforts of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (, with my sister & I holding a benefit for the past 6 years; we began it in his honor, but it continues in honor of all those who face this disease. Before he died, I let folks know if they wanted to see him, they should come quickly. They came from other states for brief visits; he told me he hadn't realized how many lives he, a country boy, had touched. But he has since touched many more lives, living on through the efforts he's inspired, as I go to Wash, DC for my 3rd time this year, advocating funding of advanced research & working to increase awareness of this terrible disease. I am thankful for the inspiration my brother has been to me, as he's given me a mission in this life.

Virginia Griffin
Granbury, TX

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Mentor: Kathryn Dawson-Townsend

I would like to thank Kathryn Dawson-Townsend for her guidance and support. She has motivated me to do things that I may have thought to be impossible, and to grow and develop by reaching outside my comfort zone. I have and always will admire her for the person she is and all that she stands for. She is an intelligent, dedicated, compassionate person not only as a leader, but as a friend and mother too. I will always be grateful for having been given the opportunity to mentor with her! She has taught me to believe in myself and that all things are possible. For all that she's done for me, the words of wisdom she's provided me, and for making me believe that nothing is impossible I say THANK YOU!!!

Elaine Macomber
North Quincy, MA

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Mentor: Marian Doyle

MY MOM : )

Need I say any more!

Diana L.
Hackettstown, NJ

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Mentor: Gary Easley

I was 15 years old when I went away to Military School. It was only 2 hours from my home, but might as well been 1,000. The first several weeks I was extremely homesick and feeling pretty lost. There were actually several cadets who helped or mentored me during those first months. John Saltzman, who was my squad leader was the first to show compassion and to make me feel that everything would be okay. But there was one teacher who made the most difference for me during my 4 years at Oklahoma Military Academy. His name is Gary Easley. He was my History teacher, and my baseball coach. I remember that even though History was not a favorite of mine that Coach Easley inspired me to want to learn. He always had a calm and kind demeanor, and had a genuine concern for his students. In one of our baseball games I hit a ball between left and center field. When I connected with the ball, I thought to myself that this was my best hit.. ever. After I came back to the dugout, Coach Easley put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Gary, I think that was the hardest I've ever seen you hit a ball". I think what made Gary special to me was that he cared. He made me want to be better, to do good. Since I left OMA, I have done better... I have done good. Thank you Gary Easley for being a mentor to me!

Gary Good
Oklahoma City, OK

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Mentor: William "Bill" Eberle

I was fortunate enough to have been assigned Mr. William Eberle as a mentor when I was a participant in the VISN 18 Leadership Development Institute. Bill and I shared numerous conversations, but I believe I learned more by listening to his counsel and advice. I also learned a great deal through observation of his comportment in private as well as in public settings. What I observed is that there was no difference in behavior, attitude or mode of living based on situational changes.

The message I took from that observation is:

One’s action(s) when no one is watching proves the quality of his or her character.

The value of the mentoring process did not fully materialize until the leadership-training program was over and I was back in the reality of the day-to-day situations that arise in the workplace and in life.

From my mentor I have learned that being trustworthy adds the richness of other people who value your confidence and ability to discuss issues of importance or the smallest details of trivial matters freely - as discussions between best friends. Trustworthiness goes beyond doing what is expected and going the extra mile to achieve personal selfless goals and to help others succeed.

Being loyal provides opportunities to develop long-lasting friendships with those depending on you as a leader, your colleagues and subordinates. Bill stressed the importance of loyalty as a characteristic many successful and influential leaders value when they look for capable staff members who are reliable in the most critical circumstances.

Commitment to excellence in matters great and small shows you care. You care not only about yourself. You care about the place you live – your home, your city, your country and this world. You can and will do something, anything to make it better.

Mark Salcido
Tucson, AZ

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Mentor: Lisa Ewers

I feel my mentor has done an excellent job of keeping me on task. She provides constant reminders about upcoming dates and events in our weekly meetings. I must commend my mentor for her efforts in smoothing out the rough edges in me and for ideas and suggestions in helping me to better teach my students and to be the best I can possibly be.

Frances U.
Concord, NC

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Mentor: Melody Fletcher

Thanks a lot for helping me in every one of my projects brought to you, especially in my college essays. Thanks a lot for every lecture you have explained to me. You have impacted some knowledge into me and that has really influenced me to know who I am and what I am capable of doing.
Appreciate you a lot.
Love you. You are a great Mentor.

Oluwatosin Tolulope Adedipe
Columbus, OH

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Mentor: Larry Foster

It was a Friday afternoon in December 1994 when I met for the first time my mentor Larry Foster. I had gone to his office fully expecting that I might have at most 20-30 minutes with him and I was happy and appreciative of whatever he was willing to share with me. I was in for a big surprise! That afternoon Larry very warmly welcomed me into his corner suite office overlooking the north Dallas Tollway in a prestigious office complex. He was casual, friendly and open with his conversation and I was intrigued by his questioning ability and his genuine interest in me. He showed by both his words and actions how down to earth and approachable he was. He invested well over an hour in our first appointment and it was memorable in many ways. That day was the beginning of a long time friendship and mentoring relationship over the past 12 years. During the months and years that have followed that initial meeting Larry has repeatedly given generously of his time, his contacts, his wisdom and his concern for me. He has introduced me to all of his family, his business associates and many of his friends both near and far. He opened doors of introduction that led to business contracts and repeatedly gave me high recommendations. His positive, funny and light hearted humor has endeared him to me and he was one of those who I was able to confide in during the dark hours of my divorce. I honor my friend and long time mentor Larry Foster today on National Mentor Day with this tribute to his influence and support in my life and to thank him for the success I've enjoyed.

George Hendley
Richardson, TX

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Mentor: Joe Franklin

There are a "Rare Breed" of select individuals in life that come along (if you are fortunate and blessed enough) to touch your life with such an "IMPACT" as you have touched mine, of which I am and always will be ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. Words could NEVER express my appreciation for all you have done for me...both in the past and as you still do presently everyday. You have not only believed in me from the beginning and virtually lauched my career through the major television and radio exposure you granted me through the magnificent years we've shared together, but that of countless STARS you put on the map... making them the STARS they are today, including myself! You're Love, kindness, generosity, inteligence, experience and your humble unselfishness is a "GOD Send", and a "Beacon of Light" as an example to the world.You are an "ICON" in the Entertainment Industry as a Radio and TV Celebrity,Author and the "KING" of Memorabilia.You Originated and Created what the World knows today as the{TALK/VARIETY SHOW}and hold the World's Record for interviewing and hosting the most guests to date in the History of TV.In your own words to me you told me that "I am Basking in the Shadow of Your Reflection,that you've believed in me from the beginning and that I'm Your "STAR".You Sir,MR. Joe Franklin... are my "MENTOR" in my Life and I am Honored that you've consented to portray the Role of my Mentor for my Up-Coming Feature Film "The MENTOR" for the World to see as a Testimony.I will live my Life Mentoring others with the same Love and Sharing that you imparted to me. GOD BLESS YOU,ALWAYS! Professionally and Respectfully Yours,

Pete DeLorenzo
Garfield, NJ

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Mentor: Debbie Fritter

I met Debbie when I was in seventh grade. She was in tenth grade. She was gorgeous, and she sang and acted very well. I was scared of bullies in school, but she chased them away. She showed me the ropes in school. She was there during the tough times and helped me through a lot of problems. I trusted her more than anyone. She was the first person I told about the night that I drank. She knew what I did was wrong, and she wasn't mad and didn't criticize me for being hysterical. Debbie has shown me how to wear my hair, and how to match my clothes. She also writes back on time. Although they say no one is perfect, Debbie is in my eyes. Thanks for everything!

Taylor King, 14
West Roxbury, MA

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Mentor: John Gay

My mentor was John Gay, a pitching coach that lives in Vancouver. I started going to him as a coach when i was 8. At the first clinic i did not know anything about what i was doing, having no clue how to throw the softball with control or speed as i had seen Megan Fowler do. She inspired me to try to become a softball pitcher; however she is not the one who has kept me going over 11 years. The first time i threw the softball to my dad it went wherever it wanted to go. Sometimes it would even bounce to him instead of hitting his glove in the air. Over the years John has taught me a good motion and has told me to trust my motion and the speed will come eventually. I did not want to trust him but i did, so i started out slow and easy just getting what he called the perfect motion to throw harder. He still does not believe i have an absolute perfect motion but that i have the potential to with hard work. Every pitching clinic i have ever gone to, John tells me the same thing every time....... "NO NO NO you're doing it all wrong,Do it like this," sometimes yes i would want to quit but then he would tell me with all this work i would be great. Every month during the winter when he would come down for the monthly pitching clinic and would video tape what we were doing right and wrong so that we could work on that until the next time he came down. I thought i would never get it right, but John kept pushing me telling me "You can do it, i believe in you." Before that I had NEVER had anyone that believed in me. I kept pushing myself to be the best i could be becauseI wanted to make John proud. Even now when I go to a pitching clinic, he smiles at me and then says in a smarty tone "ready to get your butt kicked," that was always his way of telling me that today was going to be hard on me and was I willing to go through it. Without him i don't know if i would be still playing and going to college on a softball scholarship.

Brittany Heiman
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Frank Gilleland, Sr.

My classmates at North High saw him as a crusty old science teacher who told war stories and gave tough tests. To me Mr. G. held an emotional safely net. He let me come to his lab: at noon, before or after school. At sixteen I fought with my parents, missed my old school and couldn’t find friends at my new school. I thought my life was deeper and lonelier than Death Valley. Mr. G. didn’t lecture me, though he teased me about my goofy boyfriends, noticed my hard earned weight loss, made me laugh, let me cry. The only advice I remember from him was: “In ten years you won’t remember this.” I sorted his transistors, played with his equipment and ate my lunch while reading Science magazine. He gave me an adult to trust and a “place to be.” He kept me sane, he let me grow.

Pit L.
Phoenix, AZ

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Mentor: Fran Giovinco

Mrs. Giovinco and Mrs. Guariligia mentor myself, my sister and my brother. I attend an elementary school in New York. We have 48 teachers who are in the mentoring program for our school. We do fun activities with our mentor all year long. We get to watch a movie, eat ice cream, go bowling and have a breakfast with our mentors. Most of all our mentor does extra crafts with us. We really love doing the crafts with them. We make cool things. It is nice to learn new things and spend time with them. They are very nice to us. M y Mentor is E xcellent N ice T errific O utstanding R eally generous S pecial to me.

Jennifer H., age 9
Hauppauge, NY

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Mentor: Doni Glassburn

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Doni for seeing the potential in me that I didn't know existed. I was a typical lost 18 year old kid with no goals for my life when I met Doni. He was my manager at a restaurant, and had hired me as a dishwasher. I was only working to make a little money to go out and party. I was on the verge of getting fired when Doni took me under his wing, and began to "show me the ropes" of life. Doni taught me how to set goals for myself. He taught me everything from how to coach people to achieve results, to how to pick out a shirt and tie that matched. Most importantly, Doni instilled a self confidence in me that still burns brightly 20 years later. I've been thankful that I met Doni every day since. I often mention him and our story to the employees that I supervise to this very day, always talking as if he were some legendary superhero. I do my best to have an affect on my employees like he did on me every day. When the occasional comment comes from an employee that they appreciate everything that I ever did to get the best out of them, I tell them this story, and tell them that I just feel an obligation to "pass it on".

Joe Garcia
Denver, CO

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Mentor: N Goff

I would like to thank my mentor for all the inspiration and motivation that she has filled me with. She is such a strong, disciplined woman whom I admire. In high school, all the students hated Algebra and they knew it wasn't easy in our class. Ms.Goff didn't sugar coat or make anything easy. She taught Math so that we could learn the concept and not just get the answer. Her lessons in class have helped me in my daily interactions in life. Although math was very easy for me, there have been things in my life that have not been so easy. But I would always remember Ms.Goff, and I would go through with whatever I had to even if it called for hard work. I will continue to be a mentor to others because I know how important it is to have a mentor that you really trust and believe in. If Ms. Goff did not enter my life, I would not have had a chance to experience her positive outlook on life. The lack of her in my life could have caused me to take a path that I would have regretted, so I thank God for that.

Earsene Scott
St. Louis, MO

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Mentor: Alden (Denny) Gordon

"Our magazine appeals to a certain clientel and you are still dressing for the modeling academy. You just MUST dress appropriately for this job!" the Editor scolded. Looking down at my peach safari outfit tucked neatly into my designer leather boots,I adjusted the cotton scarf tied around my then young neck. Tossing my long curls over one shoulder, I squared her in the eyes and sassed, "Take a good look, Denny, 'cause this is as straight as I get." She stared back in disbelief and silence filled the room for what seemed like minutes, then she howled with laughter. She typed out my statement and posted it in her office for years. Denny Gordan has been my mentor for over thirty years. My job was in sales but one month Denny let me write a short fashion article for the magazine. She loved the way I started my little article and her enthusiasm made me remember three decades later the actual words I wrote: "light, bright and carefree." They were simple little words but Denny loved them and she made me so proud. She made me believe in myself. Denny Gordan is a class act from Gross Point, Michigan and we come from very different worlds. But Denny always included me in her social affairs. She took me to fancy parties and introduced me to fancy friends.She played up the good in me, and if she ever saw the bad, she laughed it off.I wanted to be the person Denny saw in me. When I started a big job, Denny offered to buy me a suit. When I got homesick, she offered to send airline tickets. When I needed my first computer, she said to price a laptop. I never took Denny up on any of those offers, but I knew I could. Actually, I knew Denny would invest in anything I needed. But when I became a doctor at fifty years old, I believed I could write my own press release. Thank you Denny. When I grow up I want to be just like you.

Charlene Parrish
Thomasville, GA

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Mentor: Sherry H.

Aunt Sherry wasn't my favorite Aunt. I have no bad feelings toward her now for the nights she would come visit and take my mom away and tell my sister and me to go to bed. I have no bad feelings because now, I'm my mom in that situation. We share days and nights together like friends. I call her just like I would any other of my good friends. Many situations have arisen in my life, especially tough ones this past year, and during the last 3 years, Aunt Sherry has been there for every one of them. She helps me out with boy, work, and parent problems. The thing I love most about talking with her, is how no matter what decision I make, she applauds me for making good, mature choices. In one particular instance, I was being made to move in with my dad in Seattle. This was much more dramatic than it sounds, considering I've never had a great relationship with my dad. When my mom told me, I quickly tried to work out a way to try and live with Aunt Sherry. I asked her and my mom. Aunt Sherry said yes, my parents said no. So, I packed, cried, and talked it out, for a week. Through all my tears, anger, and feelings of abandonedment, Aunt Sherry was there. The night I went to say goodbye to her was so hard. I never want to cry or feel like that ever again. However, she was my standing post, she made me feel strong and optimistic. Maybe it was because she saw both sides of the story and felt for me. Really, it's because she unconditionally believes in me.

Casey Harpe
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Kevin Hagen

I am writing to thank my son's mentor. My son, Seamus is 9 years old, and as much as he adores Coach Hagen, he is too young to truly appreciate how lucky he is to have Kevin as his coach, and mentor. I also believe that Coach Hagen has no idea just how much we value his role in Seamus' life. We arrived in the North East (NY/Norhtern NJ)from Canada when our son was 7. He had just spent a year playing hockey for a very destructive individual in Toronto, Canada. His confidence was shattered, and he never wanted to play again. Kevin is the youth hockey director at our local rink. When he heard Seamus' story he agreed to skate with Seamus is the morning to help work on his skills, and boost his confidence. Seamus was leery, but after hearing that Kevin was also a transplanted Canadian, he agreed to give it a shot. Kevin has skated with Seamus at 6 am, once a week, every week for over two years now. In that time Seamus's skills have grown; he went from being one of the weakest players on his in house team, to making his rink's travel team for this season. He was so thrilled! He (and Kevin) had worked so hard to make this happen. More importantly, his confidence has blossomed. The other day we were talking about the importance of confidence, and I asked him what makes him feel good about himself. He told me "Mom, I believe in myself most, when I am on the ice with Kevin". I do not have the words to thank Kevin. He has taught Seamus to believe in himself, to work for what he wants, and that he can have faith in others. What he has done for Seamus goes so far above and beyond the role of coach. The impact that he has had on Seamus will affect Seamus for all of his life. I believe that Kevin personifies the definition of what a Mentor is. Thank you so much, Kevin.

Trish Page
Hastings, NY

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Mentor: Frances Hackett

Besides my mother, I would have to say the single, most influential person in my life has been my grandmother, Frances Hackett. As I think back over all of the trials and tribulation I have had to overcome in my life, I cannot think of one time when her words of wisdom have not guided me or her love has not comforted me. My grandmother has worn many hats during her lifetime. She has been married for over fifty years, raised four children, retired as a licensed nurse, and has always been an accomplished gospel pianist. Her energy and enthusiasm for life has always amazed me.

I, like a lot of children, had very loving parents, who also had very demanding careers. So when I was not at home or in school, I was at my second home---my grandparents’ house. At their home, a majority of my time was spent shadowing my grandmother’s every move---and move we did! We were always sewing, painting, building, learning and dreaming. You could always find us by following the path of destruction throughout the house.

My grandmother grew up during the Depression and still remembers receiving electricity. However, her hardships and age have never made her bitter or any less of an independent thinker. She has always had a way of seeing the best in everyone and making the best out of a bad situation. With my grandmother, creativity was encouraged, follow-through was rewarded, honesty was expected, and kindness was just a way of life. As a child, and now as an adult, I realize just how ahead of her time she has always been. The example my grandmother has demonstrated with her life guided me as a child and now as an adult.

Charity H.
Dermott, AR

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Mentor: Pat Halverson

Mentor of the Year. If there were such an award, my mentor Pat Halverson would definitely be a contender. She is "worth her weight in gold". Not only is she a great teacher, but also an awesome mentor. She made my transition to the school district and our particular school a very enjoyable and pleasant one. As a mentor, she makes herself very available to answer questions and offer assistance. Her care and humor puts students and staff at ease. Day in and day out, it is such a comfort to come to school and know that she will be there. Her expertise will definitely be missed when she retires sometime in the future. So, for however long that I am privileged to work with Pat, I will cherish those days and always be grateful for her year of mentorship. There is not a better mentor a new teacher could ever have. Although she is minimally compensated by the school district, Pat is truly worth her weight in gold. Thanks for being my mentor, Pat!

J. Kosinski
Racine, WI

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Mentor: Maria Halvorsen

I wish to thank my mentor, Maria Halvorsen. Maria is an amazing source of light in the lives of everyone she touches and beyond. Maria is the COO of an organization who's mission it is "to support women CEO's, entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives by helping them grow their businesses and careers." She is extremely passionate and giving in everything she does. Besides the countless numbers of women she assists through her corporate work, she is also a devoted mother, friend, and teacher. In her "spare time" she teaches spiritual and personal development classes, empowering her students to have faith in themselves and to spread examples of faith, hope and love to others. When I began taking Maria's classes I was extremely shy and just coming out of a dark period in my life. Maria's support, wisdom, sense of humor, and compassion helped give me the strength to help myself, and to be able to be there for others in a way that I never before could. In addition to being a great mother, career woman, teacher & friend, Maria also holds other pastoral & leadership roles and responsibilities in her community. She is the busiest woman I know, yet her smile constantly shines the brightest. Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious. I am incredibly grateful for Maria?s constant dedication to improve the lives of those around her. I found my mentor at 31 years old. I hope that programs like this will encourage more mentors for children and young adults so that they too will find their Maria at just the right time! Thank you!

April Codair
Lynn, MA

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Mentor: Darrell Hankins

I have had meany mentors in my life, but the most memorable one is Darrell Hankins. He is the Seal coordinator for the western region. Chief Disharm hires him to come to the Tri-ctities once a month and train with the recruits that are trying to become Navy Seals or Special Warfare Combat Crewman. Darrell has a lot of experieince in this field because he served in The Special Warfare sector of the Navy for 23 years. Special Warfare is Seals, and SWCC. For 18 years he was on SWCC, then for an extra 5 years he was a Navy Seal. He has so many interesting stories. For example, he once told all of us recruits about a mission that he was on in Sout america, and it just sounded so exciting that i had to try out for SWCC! But most of all, he has so much useful information about the two programs. When he comes to the Tri-cities each month, we hold a training session at World Gym. Yakima, ellensburg, and Prossed recruits all come to the gym to take part in the training. At the last session, i got some suprising news. Darrell asked me to help him teach some of the recruits some swimming techniques! And this came as no big suprise to me because i am a lifeguard, swim lesson teacher, and i was on swim team for about 8 years! I was definently qualified for the job. Since that day, each month when Darrell comes to Tri-cities, i get to help the other recruits swim and get ready for their Seal, or SWCC tests. I feel really good that Darrell chose me to be his helper. Darrell is an amazing individual. I can only hope to do half of the long list of amazing things that he has donw willingly for his country. I am going to continue helping him train the other recruits until i ship out on August 7, 2007.

Kenny Callies
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Ray Hancock

Mr. Hancock was my Gr 6 & 7 teacher. He believed in me. He encouraged me. And, he gave me hope. Because of this, I found some small belief in myself that continued to grow. I'm now 47 years old, have two amazing children who both have a giving spirit, who both act as mentors to their friends and others they meet along the way. Three years ago, I completed a Masters degree in Communication. As I walked across the stage to receive my certificate, it was of Ray Hancock that I thought. So, if anyone reads this and knows Ray Hancock who taught in Cache Creek, BC, please tell him that HE made a difference. I also work for Big Brothers Big Sisters; one of the best mentoring programs around! Pass it on..

Joanne Rosen (Evans)
Nanaimo, BC

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Mentor: Harry Hauck

It was such an honor to be one of Harry Hauck's swimmers. My family was very poor, very large, on welfare, living with violence and drunkenness, which was the norm in my Detroit neighborhood. The Patton Pool family led by Harry Hauck took me in as a skinny kid from family of nine children and showed me that I had talents and that I could develop those talents. My Detroit Patton Pool family helped me experience love, friendship, team spirit, companionship, discipline, goal setting, a tremendous growth in self-esteem and self-confidence.
Coach Hauck changed my life. My life would have taken a different turn if not for him. He shared his time, wisdom and love with a skinny kid from the streets of Detroit. Coach helped me see a different life, one that I was not seeing in my house. I believe that without the intervention of my swimming family I would not have grown in to the loving, caring, productive person I am today.
At times I feel like I have lived several lives. Growing up in poverty and violence, being a swimmer, leaving home to join the Marine Corp, getting an education, an advance degree, having a family, having a successful career helping people, and becoming a grandmother. Coach Hauck influenced every stage of my life. I am a better person for that experience.
The "Hawk" what can I say "You are the Man!" You left an impression on me that drives my life. Thank you for being a ripple in my sea of life. If I never told you before. I want to tell you now. I love you and I am grateful to you and the Patton family for all you have done for this 60 year old woman.

Joan Makkonen Johnson
Lansing, MI

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Mentor: Connie Haywood

The best thing about a mentor is having somebody to help you learn how to read and do better with math and reading. My mentor is nice, kind, helpful, generous, and pretty. I like to have a mentor because it's fun and she helps me learn how to read and understand math better. Having a mentor is fun because when you learn how to read you can do better in class.

Natasha M., 9
Wilmington, DE

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Mentor: Felix & Hazel Hembree

When I was approached with the question of was, there anyone in my life who I would like to thank for being a mentor to me, it only took me a few seconds to say yes, my parents. I grew up in a great home and had an awesome childhood. When I was 17 I found out that from my carelessness, that I was pregnant. My parents were gonna kill me I just knew it. I told them and the first thing out of there mouth was that they were disappointed but that there were worse things that I could of done and that they will be there no matter what. My parents were my rock when I thought my life was over. I thought about dropping out of school and my mom said, "I don't care if I have to take you to school and sit with you in class, you are going." Well seeing how that would be really embarassing I went on my own free will. I ended up graduating mid-term and with honors. My parents told me when I said I wasn't going to college that how can I give my son a better life if I don't better myself. I went to nursing school soon after. It was rough being a single mom, but I knew that it would be rewarding and would pay off in the end. My parents were always there for me no matter what time or reason. The thing that amazes me is that is isn't only with me, it is with everybody. My parents will help a starnger just like it was a family member and ask for nothing in return. They are constantly giving to others, and I have asked why. My dads response is, that is what I'm supossed to do, I have been blessed and it is away for me to show that god does still live inside of people's hearts. So that is why my parents are my Mentors. I love them and I thank god that he gave them to me.

Tonya Rudolph
Otterbein, IN

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Mentor: Chad Hendrix

One of my biggest mentors was my older brother Chad. Chad had a hard life and had been through many expirences, many of witch were bad. we used to live in Salinas California when I was little. I was really small and my brother was eleven years older than me. He was really cool in my eyes, every time i saw him. he would always go out and hang out with his friends, while I was staying at home with my parents. Every once and a while my family would travel to Nevada to visit my grandparents. When we were there my brother would be gone yet again. We left my brother behind to stay with my gtandparents. One Christmas my family got a phone call from him saying that he was in prison and he wasn't going to be out for a while. Tears came to my eyes relizing how long it would be before I would get to see my brother again. Finally the day came that i had waited forever to come, and I finally got to see my brother again. It had been a long time since I'd seen my brother with those time he was away, plus the six years he spent in prison. He had tattoos all over his body and a goatee on his face. It was during the summer and my brother and I spent every day together talking and hanging out. He told me about while he was away and all the experiences ha had been through. Everything that my brother had told me had a meaning to it. My brother always told me to learn from his mistakes and to never turn out like him. He told me that everything he had been through had been for a reason, so that i wouldn't have to go through what he had been through if i just learned from his mistakes. Later on in our life i started losing track of my brother as he moved away, barely keepin in touch. Then one day my family recieved another phonecall saying that my brother had a annurism and had died the last morning. TO this day and forever I will never forget what i learned from my older brother.

Craig Stanley
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Linda Hernandez

My mentor has been my mother. Ever since I was a young girl my mother always pushed me to strive to be the best in all that I did. Even when I didn?t believe in myself my mother always did. She never told me that I wouldn?t make it and she never encouraged me to quit. She always told me to finish what I started and that if I ever wanted to do something she said that I should always do it right the first time in order to prevent me having to do it again. My mother is my main inspiration, she has taught me to love god and to stick to things that I believe in. My mother is the most loving woman I know, she is true to her faith and to her belief that good things come to those who wait. I look up to my mother as the caring figure in my life as well as an example to what I want to be when I grow up. She is an accomplished woman who came from poverty and prospered. She loves the lord and the people around her and she is an inspiration to all she meets. But most of all, she supports me in all I choose to do.

Jasmine M., age 14
Mesquite, TX

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Mentor: Vy Higgensen

My mentor is Vy Higgensen of the Moma Foundation located on 126th Street in Harlem. She wrote the play, "Mama I Want to Sing" and recently had a 20 year anniversary of the play over the past two months.

She became my mentor early this year, and has inspired me to do many things in the entertainment field. My desire is to become a choreographer, and Ms. Higgensen has helped me tremendously in this effort as well as in my studies. My future plan is to go to college for business administration and work toward a study in the arts.

We meet basically every Saturday for rehearsals and mentoring. I have engaged in many back stage chores and have met many gospel groups and entertainers in the musical arts. She has also offered me an opportunity to be tutored in my studies whenever I need it. She stated that an education is the key to everything that my heart desires.

Ms. Higgensen has inspired me to know that I can do anything that I want to do, but be aware of all the components involved. That being in the theater is hard work but the end result is the most gratifying thing that I will ever experience.

Through her encouragement, I also have become interested in participating in the debate team at my school, and have won a couple of them. One opportunity that I had in winning the debate was to have dinner at the Harvard Club in New York City with one of the directors from the television show, "Law and Order," and from that I was offered an internship with them starting in January.

Had I not been exposed to the theater through the Mentoring Program at the Greater Zion Hill Community Action Network where I was paired with Ms. Higgensen, I don't think that I would have been able to accomplish all that I have and still been able to maintain my grade average.

I thank my mentor, Ms. Higgensen, and all those people that were integral in helping me accomplish my goals.

Tina Paige, 16
New York, NY

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Mentor: Rich Hlavka

For a boss, friend, and inspirer, The right words... From "The Gift of Fear" by Gaven De Becker: "I have learned that the kindness of a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a neighbor, the parent of a friend, is never wasted. These moments are likely to pass with neither the child nor the adult fully knowing the significance of the contribution. No ceremony attaches to the moment that a child sees its own worth reflected in the eyes of an encouraging adult. Though nothing apparent marks the occasion, inside that child a new view of self might take hold. It is not just a person deserving of neglect or violence, not just a child who fails to solve its family's problems, who fails to rescue them from pain or madness or addiction or poverty or unhappiness. No, this child might be someone else, someone whose appearance before this one adult revealed specialness or lovability, or value." I've held onto being able to say that to someone deserving my whole life and no one else will ever hear that from me again. There was a moment I became no longer that child and it was because of your guidance, trust, and understanding. I thank you for being my mentor whether you know it or not, for being a person who did not take interest for a selfish reason, and for installing me with the courage to use my voice because you believed in me. If every person could have a small percentage of compassion that you have, this world would not be better, but the quality of people's lives would be positively immeasurable.

Kelley S.
Phoeniz, AZ

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Mentor: Eleanor Hoesel

My aunt was my first mentor besides my parents. She introduced me to live theater and music by taking me to performances in New York City. I have a love for live theater and performance that has never left me. Aunt Eleanor was a pioneer. She was one the first stalwarts that went skiing in NH, climbing the mountain before there were chair lifts. She had a career. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She has always volunteered in her community and with her church. Aunt Eleanor was a role model for me and helped me be a pioneer in my career field and to be a lifelong volunteer. She was 89 on December 31, 2003. She volunteers in a local school in Florida.

Dorothy Grannell
Portland, ME

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Mentor: Mrs. Elizabeth Horne-Lane

My mentor, Mrs Horne-Lane has been deceased for a while now, but I still remember the profound effect she had on my life. She was my elementary school teacher. We have all heard the phrase "be all that you can be" Mrs Lane, pushed you (very gently)towards that goal. Her pushing was so gentle you didn't realize you were being pushed. Mrs. Horne-Laine instilled in me that there was nothing, abolutely nothing that I could not accomplish if I wanted it. I was bright and gifted, Mrs. Horne-Laine saw to it that my god-given talents were developed. I excelled as a student, she saw to my abilities being challenged. She taught in a one room school house in rural Georgia, yet she drove me around the state to compete in different competitions. She did this at her own expense.

Myra Bryant
Lakeland, FL

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Mentor: Ellen Hunt

I had a hard time trying to remember the different things you had to learn in English last year but Ms. Hunt made it easy for me. I love English and no I understand it as well. She taught me how to write better essays and taught me better grammar. I have always had a pasion in writing and I wanted to become a writer but now I know I can and I am going to all thanks to the help of Ms. Hunt. Thank you so much for pushing me and making me do the things I had to do to make it where I want to be.

Cassandra Wilson, age 16
Mesquite, TX

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Mentor: Cindy Jefferies

When I was in first [through] third grade I had difficulty reading, according to my Catholic school teachers. Back then the special education program was a pull-out class at the public school two blocks down the street. Each day, rain or shine, I'd head out for the walk to Franklin Elementary for my special education class.

My Sp. Ed. teacher was Cindy Jefferies and she made it worth the walk. I look back now and realize she was very young when she worked with us, but she had a real sense of what might make a difference for her students.

Cindy made a real effort to write my name in beautiful script. I was unhappy with what I thought was an ugly name, Margaret. Cindy made me feel like my name was pretty. And therefore, I might be pretty and if I was pretty I might be smart too. It was kid logic.

It was more than just writing my name though. Cindy seemed to know that I needed more work on my self-esteem than I did on my reading. She worked with me and gave me the confidence to read out loud in front of my class.

In fourth grade I began attending Franklin Elementary. I was tested for reading and was placed in the second highest reading level in the class. I was then and am now a voracious reader.

With Cindy's help I learned to be a confident reader too. I doubt that I really ever had a reading problem, but I know I had real difficulty reading out loud because I was scared to be made fun of by fellow students. By caring about me and listening to me, Cindy helped me feel like I was worth listening to. When you feel like you are worth being listened to, it is easy to speak up.

Meg Smith
Graham, WA

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Mentor: Lenton Jenkins, Jr.

My mentor and friend is Mr. Lenton Jenkins Jr. of Southfield,, MI. He truly been a blessing in my life. We met when I was 17 years old, he and my dad worked out of the same income tax office. This is the beginning of my career preparing income tax returns. Years later when my dad passed, Lenton took me under his wing and continued to guide me as my dad had done. He allowed me to work beside him and assisting him in his Accounting practice. Years later Lenton told me that my dad asked him to look out for me and assist me when needed. Lenton has done that for the last thirty years. He has not only mentored and guided me in my professional life but in my private life as well. I want to acknowledge my mentor and true friend Lenton Jenkins Jr. Thank you with love always.

Sharon Jackson
Detroit, MI

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Mentor: Antonio Jennings

Five years ago I was 12 years old, walking the streets of southwest Atlanta without any hope for the future, failing grades and conduct in school, and no one cared for me. A young man by the name of Antonio Jennings was on his way to choir rehearsal and saw me sitting on the corner and noticed the awful look on my face. I remember very well that he missed choir rehearsal that night because he spent the entire evening talking to me about what I was going through. He was about the same age as I was, but he had a drive that I have never, ever seen before in my life. He had a deep concern for others and told me how he had been volunteering with different organizations since he was nine years old and how it has helped him to see the brighter side of life. He not only comforted me that night, he held my hand throughout high school. It is because of him that I left the gangbanging and other stuff alone. Today I am proud of myself and even prouder of this young man to took the initiative to stop and lend a help hand. I owe him a lot. He started an organization called Each One Reach One Community Impact Project at the age of 14 years old. He has not only tutored and mentored me, but many other at risk youth and found others volunteres to do the same. Here is his website:

Calvin Watson
Atlanta, GA

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Mentor: Cheryl Jennings

I was a underpriveliged child in the early 70s and late 80s. I met Mrs. Cheryl Jennings a teacher in my school. She cared for me and saved my life. She helped me and tutored me so I could succeed in school and my personal life. She saved my life and because of her I was able to make good decisions and live my life to it's fullest.

Victoria Williams
Dallas, TX

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Mentor: Robyn K

Hi, My name is jacky and I am 16 years old. This past summer I went to a christ in youth program and they talked about having a mentor. After thinking about it i came to the conclusion that it may be a good idea. I thought about people that i was close with and who i thought could inpact my life in a postive way. I came to Robyn over and over again. It has been one of the best desicions i have made, she has helped me in a number of ways. She is one of my best friends. i can count on her for anything. She is a truly amazing women. She is very open with her thoughts and lets me know if what i am doing is wrong. Her and her family have been great. I lover her kids and her husband. They are very nice and caring people. They have aloud me to become a part of their life and i am so greatful for that. Thank you Robyn for everything. OJ!

Jacky B

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Mentor: Judy Kaber-Koretz

has taught me to read to build my self esteem to help me set goals.She has assisted me and has helped my family .she has gone above and beyond the call of duty for a nyc public school teacher .She has been teaching at ps 42 Queens for over 20 years. Hats off to Judy Kaber -Koretz.

Reinaldo Sierra
Arverne, NY

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Mentor: Sheila Kailus

My mentor's name is Sheila. I know she should deserve a tribute for being a great mentor, because she has always been there for me. Whenever I needed her and even now any time I need her she is always there for me. She has also guided me through things in life for the last three years.

No matter what, my mentor is a very good and nice person. I appreciate every moment I have and spend with her, she is a person whom you can trust and let your feelings out to. She really works hard to help me with any problems that I have.

Even when I get mad or angry, Sheila always finds a way to make me happy and laugh. She is the best in the whole wide world. Sheila is perfect.

Jessica A., 13
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: William Kane, Sr.

We began the ClaimSmentor program in December 2005 as a tribute to William Robert Kane, Sr on the 5th anniversary of his death. Mr Kane was my father, my mentor, and my friend mentoring me every step of the way during my 28 year career with State Farm. We are now located at with 545 members at our first anniversary. We have over approximately 67 adjusting firms now participating to help us mentor new adjusters to enhance the entry into the Insurance Property Claims profession and to give them a start in this industry and over 100 experienced adjusters helping us mentor new adjusters providing a roadmap to success in the adjusting field as Independent adjusters. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the mentors participating on our site for helping other new adjusters carrying on the legacy of William Robert Kane, Sr and the effect his mentorship had on my career.

Deborah Moroy
Destin, FL

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Mentor: Laura Ann Kaun

My mentor is my stepmother. When I was two my parents divorced, and my stepmother stepped into my life. We are very close, and even though we aren't blood-related we are so much alike. She has provided a lot of support, even though I am not her [biological] child. Even as a small child, I called her "Momma," even though I visited my [biological] mother every couple of weeks. She was always there to comfort me and motivate me, from my first day of Kindergarten, to long division, performing that perfect soccer juke, and keeping me on track in my life. She listens to my amateur guitar music for hours on end and is always attentive, always there to give me that little bit of constructive criticism. She has allowed me to grow, and always pushes me to live up to my potential, and to shoot for the stars. I am thankful for Laura Ann Gathright Kaun. Without her, I would not be the person I am today.

Nick Kaun, age 15
Mesquite, TX

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Mentor: May Klein

I think a mentor is a very big help because a lot of kids that need them don't have them. I also think a mentor should be a smart person so they can be able to help you with your homework. They should also be very patient with you. My mentor May is a very nice,smart, interesting person.

Mayra Trejo
Costa Mesa, CA

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Mentor: Michael Kondratyuk

My most important and favorable mentor is my eldest cousin, Michael Kondratyuk. He being the oldest from us cousins has made me want to be like him. He is more like a motivator, hero and a good role model all at the same time. This all started once he became the youth pastor at my church. He helped me see how I could make a good contribution to my church. I was always the shy one in the crowd. He would keep asking me to go say something in front of the congregation. Being respectful like I am, I didn't want to refuse. This has helped me to preach at an early age. Michael has helped me improve on my social and people skills. But he didn't sop their, he encouraged me to join the youth group choir. After doing so, I thought, 'It's not too bad.' Afterwards, maybe a year or so later, he encouraged me to join the actual church choir. Although this was quite stressful, I deeply enjoyed it Michael would keep building me up, showing me to have a positive attitude. One day when some boys were saying mean things about me, Mike would come up to them and say. 'Hey, that's my cousin you're talking about, would you be saying the same thing if God was right here next to you listening?? This made the boys think twice before saying something bad again. That is why Mike is my hero. Another thing I observed was that Mike would always look at people from the inside. Not judging them by what race, color, or ethnicity they were. This has taught me to treat everyone equally. Because I can tell him my problems, and he tries to help me, Michael is a good mentor.

Igor Grinchuk
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Stephanie La Fortune

I think a mentor should be someone who helps you on your homework and someone who motivates you. my mentor stephanie helps me on all my homework. she is very smart and im happy to have her as my mentor. A mentor should have a lot of patience. they should take things slow and calm.

Amairami Sanchez
Costa Mesa, CA

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Mentor: Henry Law

I grew up around construction sites, but never learned basic carpentry. Years later, as a first time homeowner, I mentioned that I was going to buy some shelves over the weekend. Henry, owner of the office building where I worked, overheard and said don't buy them, build them. He sketched out basic plans and told me what type of wood to buy. With a few basic tools, I began to build my own shelves. It took me about a week- I'd get so far, then run into a new problem. Every morning I'd track down Henry and ask him new questions. Patiently, he walked me through the process. I've built more and more complex furniture since then, but I never would have become a carpenter without the help of Henry Law.

David Liebel

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Mentor: Bill Lewis

Do you know Mr. Bill? No? Well, you will wish you did after you hear what an amazing person he is to be around.

Mr. Bill is a fun person to be around. He plays kickball with me. He comes during the lunch and recess period. He kicks far and he is a good catcher. He is also fun because he takes me on the nature trail with a friend. Another thing is that he plays games with me. We have a great time playing two-hand touch and even just catching the football. The last thing I am going to say is that we would play a game of one on one game of kickball. That is awesome, it is also why he is a fun mentor.

The second thing I’m going to talk about is that he is dependable. He is always here unless he is sick or unless he has to go to a meeting. So I can always depend on him to come. I really look forward to him coming and I know he will be there when he can. He will never break a promise even if he tells me he will get me a present. That’s why it’s great to have dependable person like Mr. Bill for my mentor.

The next thing I am going to tell you about is how he has taught me some of the many things Mr. Bill knows. When I was in third grade he taught me how to golf. It was fun because he taught me how to play games on disks that I did not know how to play. It was also fun. The last thing is that he teaches me jokes that are funny. It’s nice to have him take the time to teach me things that I’m interested in.

The last thing is that he is so generous because he brings me presents that I don’t open until Christmas. He brings games that he knows I will play, because he knows what I like. The last thing is that he brings me food from Wendy’s and sometimes McDonalds. I really appreciate that because the food at school isn’t so great!

I just want to thank Mr. Bill for being so caring, generous and fun. He shows me how to be a better person and I learn a lot from him. He is the best mentor there could ever be. I can’t wait for Tuesday because that is the day my mentor Mr. Bill comes to school. He is one of the most caring, generous, and fun person I know.

James Elvey, 10
Newark, DE

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Mentor: Bob Lockwood

Bob lockwood is a fantastic mentor . he taught me that being blind is actually ok. He taught me how to live and cope with my blindness. He is a positive role model. He makes you laugh. Another good quality about him is that he always listens to what i have to say and doesn't judge me . He also has a funny side. not always serious . we joke a bit , but then we are sometimes serious . it all depends on what my mood is . It is also good to have bob because he knows what i've been though . So thank you Mr. Lockwood for mentoring me . we have really learned a lot from each other.

Ben Micek
Omaha, NE

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Mentor: Frank "The Tank" Lopez

Dear frank: thanks for helping me with things I need help with. I haven't forgot your cool magic cards tricks. Your really cool & really amazing. you are the bomb. Thank you for not being mean when i get in troble. you rock dude.

Daniel Penaloza, age 11
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Marsha Lovan

We all have those special people in our lives who have taught us so many life lessons that they didn't even realized they were teaching. My special person is Marsha. She is the most AMAZING person I know! If i didnt have her in my life, I could honestly say that i don't know where i'd be today. She has been there for me through many difficult times encouraging me and loving me when I felt unlovable. I tell her all the time how important she is to me and how much I love her but my words are not near enough to explain the depth of what I mean. She has been my mother figure when I've needed it the most, my cousin, my friend, and my mentor.She carries herself with such grace in the best of times and in the worst of times that I could only dream of being like her when, in fact, I know I'll never come close. She's not perfect, and I know that, but that's what makes her so amazing. She's a real person. Thank you Marsha for being who you are-you're AmAzInG!! I love you with all of my heart!!

Brittney Lovan
Willow Springs, MO

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Mentor: Melissa Lowman

I really like meeting with my mentor for many reasons. She’s helpful, kind, she likes sports, and we like lots of the same things. We play games, we work on my schoolwork, and we have a good time. She helps me with whatever I need. This means a lot to me and I appreciate her because she helps me with so many things, and I know she doesn’t have to. I know she likes to play me in Checkers and Connect Four, even though I always win.

Tiffany H., 11
Claymont, DE

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Mentor: Michael Ma

Hi Michael. Thank you for coming here, and,thank you because your the coolest mentor I probably know. These are some words that I describe your personality: tremendous, intelligent, on time (Even though I hardly see you on some days.) Even though you might not be here any longer, you`ve really made my 6th grade year really awesome. Thank you and I hope to see you next week. From your mentee.

Jovany L., age 11
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Betty MacDonald

Mrs. MacDonald (aka "Mac") was the choir teacher at Bartlett High School when I attended from 1978-1982 and had also been my brother's choir teacher at East High School in the early 70's. From her, I (and countless others) learned about staunchness, commitment and integrity. Around 1980 public school choirs were told they could no longer sing Christmas carols that had words such as Christ, Lord, Savior, etc. Mac simply let it be known that if they were going to sensor music that way than she would stop teaching choir. She retired the next year. Losing her was a loss for all future students who didn?t get to learn the many great life lessons that she had to offer. She always held you accountable for your own actions but was the first to tell you how proud she was when you had accomplished something. The lessons that she taught me were life lessons and I wouldn't be who I am today without knowing her.
Thanks Mac!

Judi Spry
Anchorage, AK

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Mentor: Cynthia Martinez

Dear Cynthia: Thank you for being my mentor. You're a nice mentor. These are some words that describe you're personality responsisble, cool, funny, nice, honest, patiece, helpful, amazing, supportive, smart, pretty, and you respect my friend. Thank you for helping me with the things I need. I relly appreciate you spending your time with me. I want you to know that you're the best mentor I had in my life. thank you a lot. I want you to know that I love you a lot. I want you to meet my family. Thank you for being my mentor.

Stephanie C., age 10
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Harold McNair

Why I like having a mentor...

1. We have fun reading.
2. I’m learning how to read better and it makes me remember what I read.
3. Mr. McNair is friendly, funny and likes to wear ties.
4. He likes to help kids with reading and math
5. He would be a good teacher.

Ignacio J., 9
Wilmington, DE

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Mentor: Elicia Mertens

I have been involved with theater at my high school since freshman year, but at the en of my sophomore year our director announced that she was pregnant and could no longer direct. Therefore, we had to find a new director. Elicia Mertens, 'Mizzle', was awarded the job and began during my juior year. Our winter musical was "Into the Woods," and I was cast as Cinderella's mother and soprano understudy. Around the end of our fall play, I began to develope digestion problems which swiftly became worse during the musical. As it turned out, I was suffering from a dereriorating gall bladder, but it never came up on the scans. My body couldn't handle digesting fat and so I got sick quite often. Mizzle understood that there was definitly somethnig wrong with me, ans so she told me to do only as much as I could. I didn't want to dissapoint her or anyone else involved, and so I pushed myself to show up every day, sing louder, dance harder, and literally give it all the energy I could on an empty stomach. The show was a huge success and I felt proud to be a part of something so wonderful. At the end of the year I was honored with the award for most improved because of my efforts, but I truly believe I wouldn't have done so well if Mizzle hadn't believed in me throughout the year. To this day I still feel that drive in me to be the best performer I can be, knowing that if I could survive that , I could sing, dance, or act out any challenge.

Shayla McKee
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Manny Monreal

Dear Manny: thank you for helping us win the soccer game. you are really fun. when you come i hope to have lots of fun. I want to enjoy the program with you. I see you as a Big brother to me. When you come i hope you tell some things that you do in the fire department.

Jason Aguilar, age 11
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Melissa Moore

My tribute goes out to Mrs. Moore. She was my People Helping People and Health teacher when I was in High School. Throughout the rest of my Junior and Senior year in High School, she helped me through the most toughest times in my life! When I was 17 and 18, I had a really hard time with school work, getting essays in on time, and actually DOING the work. She told me that I was such a talented individual, with my ambitions in my life. I never forgot her. I miss her. On my graduation day...I felt proud to walk up on that stage and receive my diploma. At the end of the ceremony, she was at the end of the steps, and I walked over to her, and as I walked over to her, she whispered the words "You did it!" My eyes began to tear up, and as I hugged her, she said she was so proud of me, and I told her "I wouldn't have been able to do it without you." And she said, "Yes you did." From there on, we both had tears running down our cheeks, and that was the end of that.

I went back to my old High School once, saw her again...but after that, I found out she had moved, and she had a baby:) I'm so happy for her and would love to be reunited with her just one more time:) I loved her, and miss her dearly.

Heidi Searls
Cortland, NY

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Mentor: Jose Morales

Jose Morales was a Puerto Rican Studies professor at Rutgers University. He was a student favorite due to his teaching manner where he explained complex concepts using humor and contemporary analogies. His classes inspired discussion and thought. As a Latina, it was so important for me to see a Latino in the world of academia. Almost every Latino student in the university took his courses and came to him for guidance and advice. He was determined to help us graduate and succeed no matter what, constantly reminding us about his own upbringing in Puerto Rico and the South Bronx during the 50's and 60's. He gave the courage to try for an Ivy league graduate school and supported me as I went through the first year of culture shock at Columbia. We speak once a year now and he is proud on what I have accomplished. And I am blessed to have him in my life. If anyone attends Jersey City State University...take his courses!

Sophia P.
New York, NY

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Mentor: Lorreline Morroquin

Dear Lorreline: Thank you for come here , and I am proud to have a mentor like you. I describe you, amazing intelligent,and honest. I really enjoy when you come because is nice. I hope you come to see me. you're a great mentor! thank you.

Kimberly Benitez , age 10
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Gordon Murphy

As a young band student I thought I heard great music... then I heard Gordon play and for the first time was exposed to a totally different level of musical performance. As I progressed further and kept learning not only what Gordon taught about musicianship but how great musicians held themselves (life lessons) I knew that I wanted to give back what I had received and follow in his steps as a music teacher. I have been in the music education field for over 10 years and am not looking back. Gordon, you gave me the gift of music and filled me with a desire not only to play well but to uphold high standards. I will always be greatful and never forget. I also will pass on what you taught by example to those I teach.

Donald Moore
Caldwell, ID

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Mentor: David Ninos

Thank you, Thank you and again thank you. You have changed my life in so many ways that you will never understand. Not only are u my teacher and "mentor" but a role model and good person. You have taught me to have confidence in myself and to always strive for the best. Because of u i know that no matter what happens to me i should always follow my dreams. Everything about you is so amazing. First you were one of if not the best teacher i have ever had and have taught me so much not only in class but all through these last three years. Everything that you do you do to help others, not yourself. You teach lessons without knowing it and give people especially me the confidence i need. You gave your life to teaching when there were so many other opportunities for u... And if u hadn't then in no way would i or anyone you have met through your teaching be the same.

These last thee years you have guided me through some rough and trying times, you put a smile on my face and a laugh in my day. You have taught me not only to believe but to have self respect. Also you taught me to stand up for what i believe in. If i had a bad teacher you helped me through it...U did everything in your power and more to make my life better even if it made yours harder. I now know that if i don't get what i want then i can make the best out of it and that even if that was to happen to not give up for life is too precious. I thank you for using your extras time to make my day better and help me...u knew i needed u. In all ways that u have changed my life...From a teacher to a director to the world overseer, to a "counselor" to a friend i thank you for it all...I owe my life to you and hope one day to be as great as u. ARRRR matey!

Audrey D., 14
Cockeysville, MD

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Mentor: Laura Nissen

There were many people in my life that have inspired me to be the person that I am. All of which have a special place in my heart. It was a college professor that stands out for me, Dr. Laura Nissen. I was at college at MSCD in the Center for High Risk Youth Studies and wanted to go into the area of Social Work. I started to work for Dr. Nissen as a work study position. From the moment that I met Dr. Nissen I wanted to be the kind of Social Worker she had become. I cannot remember a day we were together that I was not inspired by her, her excitement for youth and for teaching. We had these wonderful conversations about youth, mentoring, policy and social work, which still to this day inspire me. She helped me to see that I was smart and worthy of the work I was studying to go into. She always encouraged me to have the highest standards and moral fiber that she knew I was going to need to work in a challenging area; and to never forget that the youth of today need strong and capable leaders to help guide them to the future. She also encouraged me to go back to college to get a Master's degree in Social Work. The road I have been on has been challenging, to say the least, but it continues to be a road I travel because of the words, wisdom and love that I received from a small college professor in Denver Colorado. Thank you Dr. Nissen!!!

Danica Brown
Denver, CO

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Mentor: Elegbe Olugbenga


Odekunle Waliyu Olaboyede
Ibadan, Oyou State, Nigeria

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Mentor: Joe Orick

Baseball for me as a kid was the sport to play. Joe orick was a good coach from around my neighborhood. It was my second year of baseball and I was at the second day of tryouts when Joe came up to me and asked for my name. That year he chose me to be on his team. I played for Joe every yeear for the next six years, except one. I also played fall ball with him as my coach. He became a good friend to me and my family. Every year Joe would push me until I couldnt go on. I was the slowest guy on the team for the first few years, but Joe would push me to keep going and try to run my hardest. He would constantly tell me how good a ball player I was and how, if i were faster, I would be one of the best batters on the team. His telling me this would bring up my confidence and would make me want to work twice as hard. So after awhile I became faster and was no longer the slowest guy. Also my last year I had the best batting average on tmy team. Joe was a great mentor to me because of how hard he mushed me. He taught me to believe in myself and to never give up even when nothing seems to be helping improve what you are working so hard to make better.

Nathan B.
Pasco, WA

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Mentors: Alfonzo & Helen Owens

To my father and mother, my first mentors. They both showed me how to use my talents and skills, how to give and receive love; how important it is to love God and family so that you can give love to someone else.

My father and mother attended every baseball game that my brother and I participated in during junior minor, minor, little and pony league ball. They came to football games and track meets wherever they were. They taught my older brother (a dentist) and my younger sister (a clinical psychologist) that helping others is a part of life. Dad purchased a left handed baseball glove so that we could practice pitching in our backyard, and the ping pong tournaments were classic battles among all of us.

We went on vacation together for as long as I can remember, returning to see family in Alabama and Ohio to stay in touch with those who raised us through them. They gave us the values by which we live today, made the Nguzu Saba meaningful before we knew what it was, and taught us to never give up.

My father and mother, a practicing dentist and assistant respectively, have been married more than 50 years, and have worked together almost ever day of that time in his dental practice. Thank you, mom and dad, for being my first and best mentors!

Gregory Owens
Albany, NY

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Mentor: Pauline Pederson

I remember in elementary school and middle school, all the girls would give their best friends a necklace. Generally, it would be two sides of a heart, with the word "best" on one side and "friend" on the other. Each one would wear a side of the heart as a necklace, keychain, or whatever. Well, when I was eight I had one with a dolphin design on it and I kept the side that said "best" and gave the side that said "friend" to the most amazing lady in the whole world. This lady was my grandma, or as i called her, Nanny. She is the most eccentric, crazy,ditzy,caring, and raddest person in the whole world. She mentors me in a way that varies from most. My view of life has always been something more than academic success or striving to make everyone like you all the time. My veiw has been to laugh at least 543 times a day and make everyday an adventure. I definatly learned this from my Nanny. I get to spend every summer with her at our Southern Florida condo. We have crazy times together. This is what makes her my mentor. The ability to go out and do a normal activity, such as going to the movies, and coming home with a story to tell. This one time we wanted to go to the movies. And let me tell you, this movie theatre was adimant on not letting anyone bring in food or drinks from outside sources. Well, my Nanny and I prepared two huge bags of our own fresh popped popcorn and upon our arrival to the movie theatre she hid one under her sweater and I hid one in my huge handbag. We got in and just busted out laughing. "Some people smuggle drugs across the border, or a candy bar from a store... but no, we smuggle popcorn INTO the movie theatre. WE ARE HARDCORE!" she said. We laughed forever about that. She is the one that gave me the ability and even the strengh to forget about person maddoging you when you are in the movie theatre lobby,laughing so hard tears are falling out of your eyes as you pull a bag of popcorn from underneath your shirt.

Nicole Gaston
Mercer Island, WA

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Mentor: Beth Philips-Marat

I wanted to thank my French teacher with all my heart for everything she has done for me. Things that can not be seen, but rather felt. I wanted to thank her for opening my eyes to the world and realizing things. Things such as that your mother and your father are your only true friends who will be there for you through sickness and health, happiness and sorrow. Many people know that, however, it doesn't mean that they feel that way. She made me appreciate the beauty of different countries, cultures, and people. Before I met Mrs. Marat, I was a wild and out of control crazy girl. In her classroom, like in all the classrooms, I misbehaved. I threw books, papers, pens and other objects across the room. I talked all the time, passed notes, got up from my seat whenever I pleased, and I refused not only to do my homework and classwork but I paid no attention not only in her class but other classes as well. I received detentions everyday. However, thanks to those detentions I got the opportunity to get to know her and understand things. In the end I started coming to her for advice, help, and comfort. It felt nice to talk to an adult who taught me things about this country and its people since I am an immigrant from another country with no relatives to talk to except my mom. My grades improved, my behavior improved tremendously, and so did my outlook on life. Because of such a wonderful and warm-hearted person I became more controlled, calm, content, nice, and carefree. Because of what she did for me, I now try to help other people who need to be comforted, helped out or just simply heard out. Thank you Mrs. Marat for helping me become a better person and putting me on the right track of life. I couldn't have done it without you.

Elena, 15
New Providence, NJ

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Mentor: Lucy Ramirez

My mentor, Lucy, has cared for me as if I were a little flower. With her I started a great adventure. I was only 5 years old! It was an exciting morning when I first met her, in August of 1999 at the Horizons for Youth back to school picnic.

Lucy is a young Mexican lady who loves children. I feel very fortunate to have a person like her with me on all of the Horizons outings. Now I'm in third grade and she has always been very attentive to what goes on day by day in my school life, family and with my friends.

I admire Lucy a lot. When I grow up I want to be just like her! She gets to travel a lot and that's very exciting.

We have shared a great history and great moments, talking and playing together. Our nicknames for each other are Curly Girl (Lucy) and Rainbow Girl (me). We are now more than just friends, I have picked her to be my godmother for my first communion! Now she's someone even more special and important in my life. I know we will be friends forever!

Brittany V., 8
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Jesse Rapp

I write this tribute to a person who has made me re-evaluate who I am. By showing me a more simple way of life, she has shown me not only love and assistance, she has opened up a world of doors that go anywhere...absolutely anywhere.

She has made me more mindful, thoughtful, and reflective with every single hour we interact. I am more adventuresome, outgoing, and in the best shape of my life. I owe it all to myself, of course...I did it all for me. But she pushed me out the door. She took the first step with me. Now I'm running. Running along side of her.

John Peterson
Tacoma, WA

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Mentor: Leslie Raysor

To my mother, I honor you with this tribute for all you have encouraged me to do and to not, for all the support and love you have shown me from birth to present. Words really can not describe how I feel about you, not only as my parent, but as an example of a strong, black woman. I owe you everything as that is what you continue to give of yourself; I am blessed to have you in my corner at all times, through all things positive and negative. You will forever be my hero. I love you. Hold Fast.

Candice Raysor
Indianapolis, IN

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Mentor: Reading Stars Program Volunteers

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." There are no truer words than the words of Winston Churchill. The time you gave at the Point Breeze Family Center has made a difference in the lives of the children in the Reading Stars program. The Point Breeze Family Center Staff and the children of the Peacemakers after school program at McDaniel Elementary School would like to thank each and every one of you for giving of your self unselfishly. Tammy Attama from Philadelphia Cares. Temple University students Meghan Barnes, Christa Bryant, Felicia Christman, Katie Gondell, Michelle Greco, Johnathan Harris, Joe Heidenwolf, Chris Lux, Beth Marciano, Teri Pierce, Alison Scott, Elizabeth Scott, Michelle Strobel, Michael Sylvester, Melissa Thomas, Laura Williams and especially Temple University Professor Michael Dorn.

Beverly Bryant
Philadelphia, PA

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Mentor: Joe Rhoades

Mr. Rhoades is 66 years old. He has mentored a young man named BJ for over 2 years through the Friends of Youth Program of Communities In Schools of Wilkes. Not only does Joe spend time with BJ but he helps CIS in all types of situations. When CIS needed furniture for a fun room for the children of CIS, Joe donated a whole room full of furniture, everything! The Friends Of Youth has planned activities for the children each month, Joe and BJ are always there helping. Beginning in January, one evening per month Joe will give free art lessons for the children of CIS. Joe volunteers in other capacities as well. He has helped in the cleanup of Isabel in Eastern North Carolina, going down on a Thursday and staying until late Saturday night, cutting trees, or whatever the need. He has taught Sunday School at his church, as well as helped with RA's (a young boy's club). He is a mentor to his own grandchildren. He is always taking them hiking or bike riding.

As the coordinator for the Friends of Youth Program, I can truly state that Joe is a mentor to me as well. He is forever stopping by my office to see me, to inquire what is taking place next, to see if I need any help, and just to lend an encouraging word! Without knowing it, Joe Rhoades has become my mentor!

Glendora Chipman
Wilkesboro, NC

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Mentor: Durwin Rice

Thank you D e have never really known ,( nor did I know) just how lost I was before you "took my hand" . I have a disability which keeps me from working, driving and it keeps me somewhat isolated. This is how I had the time to play with decoupage. I devoured your book, which became my inspiration...and joined your online group. For the first year your chats and appearnces totally intimidated me ....becasue I admired your genius so. Eventually we "talked" online, I won one of your design contests, and because of the free time I volunteered to make centerpieces for your first ever decoupage convention, It was an honor that you asked... Soon after, we became online friends, and developed a bond ..which filled me with light, inspiration , and joy . I was able to take my passion for The Beatles and create wonderful works , I donated my work to help many charities...and people LOVED my work. I never would have done this without your light shining on me D!! I have been by your side trying to help you realize your dreams , a revitalization of a neighborhood which has been sorely neglected. YOur dream was to fill it with TULIPS next breathe beauty and life back in to your communtiy. D~~ in one year you have planted seventy five thousand have done much of this on a dream and prayer and much perspiration. Was this enough..? NO! .... you created a plan for a George Harrison Memorial Garden. He was my one of Greatest Lights, and I cannot concieve of a more splended purpose here on earth, than to carry on his message . You are making that a possiblity !! Together, we have DREAMED..and had so much fun all the while. We have already made a diference in this world and I look forward to many more > You have made DREAMS and lifelong passions a REALITY. THANK YOU Durwin.

Kathleen Joyce
Boston, MA

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Mentor: Melissa Rolnicki

According to Webster's Dictionary, a friend is "one attached to another by affection." To me, a friend means much more. A friend is a person who is trustworthy, a person who is kind and helpful. A close friend is very hard to find but luckily I found one in Melissa.

Melissa is not only my friend but she is also my mentor at Horizons for Youth. We have known each other for over nine years and as each year has progressed our friendship has as well. Now that I am older I feel that Melissa and I have a very strong relationship. We are able to talk maturely and seriously about important topics.

Throughout my many years of life I have talked to her about all of my friends, family, thoughts, and feelings. Without Melissa I don't really know what I would do. She is a great person that has always been there for me when I needed her the most. I am very grateful and I know that we will continue our friendship for many years to come!

Lisa M., 15
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Lawrence Rosenfeld

I'm an educator at a university. I hope I do a good job, by teaching and inspiring and encouraging the students who work with me. If I do half the job at those things as Dr. Lawrence Rosenfeld of UNC-Chapel Hill did for me, I'll have reason to be proud. I could go into all the reasons why Lawrence is one of the reasons that I believe so passionately in the transforming power of education, and of really connecting what is taught in the classroom to students' lives. But that's a long, long list of reasons, and they all boil down to this: When I'm in my role as an educator, and wondering what to do or how to do it, I ask myself (and have asked myself for the past 15 years I've taught at the university level): How would Lawrence approach this? And how would he challenge me to bring my best self into this? Thank you, Lawrence, for helping me find the passionate and funny and caring educator in me; thank you for showing me what it can really be when it's being done well.

Katharine Stewart
Little Rock, AR

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Mentor: Ashland S.

Ashland, When I signed up to be a Big Sister, I wanted to be able to give back to someone that needed an extra person in there life. I was so lucky to be matched up with you. I was going to be your mentor, and be able to call you my Little Sister. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. But after being matched with you for awhile, and hanging out with you. I got so much more experience that I never thought I would get. Since its Mentoring Day, I thought I would let you know how much I have learned from you in the last three years, going on four. A mentor is someone that develops a friendship with someone, teaches them new skills, done things with the other that they have never done, be able to trust the other person and most imporatly be able to laugh and have a good time together. A mentor is usually an older person. Ashland, I have to say, even though you are only 9. I have learned so much from you. We have a friendship, that is more like we really are sisters. I have done things with you that I never have done before. I can trust you. I always enjoy the time that I spend hanging out with you. No matter what we do. Most of all, you make me smile. You have been a wonderful mentor. I never thought that when I signed up to be a mentor, that I was also going to get a mentor to teach me so much about the person I am. Thank you for being such a good mentor to me. I look forward to sharing more experiences with you. Happy Mentor Day Ashland! Love your Big Sister, Lauren *Ashland and I are a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters*

Lauren Wennmaker
Sycamore, IL

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Mentor: Cynthia S.

Thank you for helping me to become the person I am today! Ever since I can remember you loved me, believed in me, and helped me to believe in myself. Thank you for being a strong role-model. Through your positive examples of hard-work and dedication you taught me many lessons, including the value of education. Thank you for inspiring me to return to school. I remain inspired to pursue my Bachelor's degree today because of you. You've helped me to follow my heart, set new goals, and redirect my career while always keeping my options open to change. Thank you Cynthia for your patience, your encouragement and your friendship, you will always hold a special place in my heart.

Donna Cote
Granby, MA

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Mentor: Rachana Salgia

I am not sure how we met, and got so close and understanding. I was unclear of the path to take in life when she emerged as a decision maker and today I can reflect on the day that my path was carved out in the right direction by my favourite Rachana Ma'am. She took a chance on me and we immediately clicked. Through the laughs and some pain, we became great friends and she taught me a lot about human nature and myself. Thanks to her, I have succeeded where others failed before and I have the passion to keep trying to do accomplish more. I miss our daily interaction now, but I know that she is there for me when I need it.

Vipul Gupta
Noida, UP India

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Mentor: Dr. Cinthia S. Salinas

Somewhere down in a small south Texas town, a teacher graced us with her presence for a short while. Her name was Cinthia Salinas. Our school needed a mentor like her-one who inspired the great youth of this barren town. She allowed her students to think independently and "being different" meant being unique. She treated everyone fairly and never put herself above the rest. Her storytelling captivated us and kept us hanging on every word. She, herself, was from a small town nearby. The small town mentality of this area meant one was expected to either not attend college or if college was a goal, the college 30 minutes away was the place to go. Ms. Salinas colored a great picture of our future and told us we could go to whichever school in the world we wanted to go to, better yet become whoever we wanted to become. She taught us to dream and to dream big. I began to dream when I met her and in my life, I have seen my dreams come true. But I never stop dreaming because of her. She lit my torch to the future and now it burns brightly. I owe, my mentor, Dr. Cinthia Suzel Salinas, now a professor at the University of Texas so much.

Lizza Perez
Mesquite, TX

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Mentor: Deborah Schultz

Thank you so much for always being good for a laugh even when you may have had a bad day. Thank you for being such an outstanding teacher and really having fun with what you do. I always loved coming to your class and I know that most of your students feel the same. Words cannot explain how much you have inspired me. I hope one day I can be an outstanding teacher just as you are and really touch the lives of people just as you have. You taught me so much and I wanted to thank you for it.

Cortney K.
Wilson, NY

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Mentor: Jennifer Sennott

My mentor's name is Jennifer. She is one in a million and she is truly special to me. I've known her for close to 3 years now and it seems like I've known her all my life. She always knows what to say about certain things that she has learned in life. Knowing this information she makes it her business to see that she tells me everything that is vital in my life. She contributes to my education by sharing with me the knowledge that made her who she is today.

My mentor is very intelligent and has a lot to offer a young lady like me. She is the light in my long destiny. She is a wonderful person and I am blessed to have known her for as long as I did. Many kids don't get the opportunity to have someone in their life like Jen. My mentor and I have a tight relationship and I hope that we continue. She makes me happy each time we meet. My week becomes brighter once I see her on Tuesday. She gives me the strength to carry on my life in lady-like and intelligent ways. Jen is a wonderful person and has been a wonderful influence in my life. She will forever be remembered in my life from this day forward.

Lisa W., 15
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Sheila Shaw

Sheila is the best kind of friend anyone could ever hope for. No matter what personal struggles she may be going through she always is concerned for the well being of those around her. Sheila has taught me so many things by just observing her character. She was willing to open her home to me when I was down and out. She helped me financially so that I could keep a roof over my head. She is a sister in Christ and offers great comfort and hope through the wisdom she brings through her own personal relationship with the Lord. I doubt I could ever express to Sheila in words what her friendship means to me. She has brought me back from the brink of despair and depression when I wanted to just give up. I have the greatest love and respect for Sheila in my heart and thank God for the day he brought her into my life.

Linda Stephenson
Indianapolis, IN

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Mentor: Dutch Shoemaker

His name was Dutch Shoemaker. (I'm sure he had a more formal first name but I don't know what it was.) He was the boss of a carpentry crew in the little rural community where I grew up and he gave me my first full-time job. Unlike my father for whom we kids did chores and farm work, Dutch never yelled at anybody. He would discuss and argue about construction techniques and other things but it was all calm and gentlemanly. He would allow no one on the crew to do less than excellent work and never, ever asked employees to do anything he wouldn't do. He was a scrawny little guy and loved to tell stories with a punch. Each ended with a twinkle in his eye and a silent laugh. We built corncribs, houses, and any and all other buildings and Dutch was good at pushing us to do new things and delighted in teaching crew members. One of the things that has stuck with me the fifty years since I left the crew was that nothing was done until the doer was prepared with proper tool in hand and was in proper position to do the job. He'd say "Let me get my fanny behind me." as he did whatever he needed to do to be ready to do the work.

Delmar Kentner
Allen, NE

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Mentor: Joe-Ann Singletary

I was 10 yrs. old when Joe-Ann came into my life. My home life at the time was very unstable and filled with abuse. Joe-Ann was a 21 yr. old college student at the time. As an abused child I looked at the world in a very cynical way. Her gentle nature and non-judgemental character helped to bring healing to an emotionally damaged child and later a very confused teenager. She mothered me when my own mother alienated herself from me, and she's always always encouraged me to dream big for myself. Joe-Ann and I still keep in touch and have a wonderful relationship. I am now 44 years old a registered nurse and happily married. I am also a mentor to young women and enjoy each experience very much.I cannot imagine what my life would have been like had Joe-Ann not been there for me.

Anna Hannah (Parrish)
Chicago, IL

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Mentor: Leigh Skinner

Ms.Skinner, you have been a great mentor. The last two years with you has been lots of fun. All the craft projects have turned out really great too. Mentoring has really helped me with my grades at school. I think im definitely going to be prepared for high school next year.

Meghan Marks
Marietta, GA

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Mentor: Daisy Smallwood

My mentor was my grandmother. She took me under her wing at around age 7. She taught me how to be a lady, believe in me - even when others put me down, how to fight back non-violently, why education is important and more. I am in my 40's and still think about and refer back to many of our conversations that helped add to my character. Just knowing she was just a phone call away or sitting on her front porch holding hands talking made me feel truly loved, cared about and wanted. Grandmother died in 2006, a couple weeks shy of her 99th birthday but she still lives in me. Without her mentorship, life may have been different for me...I am glad my life is what it is - GREAT!

Merry Sowell-Garrett
Tolland, CT

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Mentor: Connie Smith


Ruth R.
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Mentor: Kenneth Smith

As I have completed my 57th trip around the Sun, the fog of my early life is clearing.I've always been thankfull for growing up in a ruff & tuff city (a city East of Chicago). It has given me wisdom from a survival level. In my formative years, (9th grade) I met a man Mr. Kenneth Smith my Mechanical Drawing instructor. Not a big man in size, but commanded respect and gave it as well.He taught me many things with out talking to me. I guess he noticed. I remember now, he started with just a simple sentence one day, "David, birds of a feather, flock together". I chewed on that for some tme. I came to the fullness of that statement! I changed some things. As I sometimes sit in the Pilot seat of the Shuttle, doing my job, getting things ready for the Astronauts. NOBODY knows I sitting in the most advanced machine made in the history mankind, and I get to help!! Thanks Mr. Kenneth Smith.

David H. Garcia
Pasadena, TX

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Mentor: Marsha Smith

I am sending out a "Thank You" to my Mother, Marsha, for being there for me my whole life. She has never let me down and is a great Mother. She's #1 in my life. I love her with all my heart. I look up to her as my role model because after all she has been through, she is still strong as she ever was! My brother and I are so lucky to have her as our mother! I want to be just like her when I am her age and the rest of my life. I love you, Mom!

Sue-Anne S., 17
Indianapolis, IN

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Mentor: Ruth Sonke

Dear Mrs. Soke, You're the best mentor in the world. I'm sooo glad you're my mentor. I love you VERY VERY VERY VERY much. xoxoxo.

Sara A.
Marietta, GA

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Mentor: Lacy Stark

Dear Lacy: thank you for helping me in eveything I need help in. I Wanted you to come in the beginning of January I heared you coudn't come. I hope to see you soon in February. Thanks you are awesome, smart, pretty, cool, supportive, helpful, nice, and honest .I appreciate you being my Mentor and for being with me every week. Thank you for being patient with me.

Nancy Sandoval, age 11
Santa Ana, CA

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Mentor: Greg Stewart

My Big (Big Brothers/Sisters) listens to me and takes me many places. - Steven, Age 9

As Steven's mother, I found it important to add to my son's mentoring story. I went to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta because there were no regular male supports in my son's life at the time. My parents are deceased and other family members are long distances away. Greg has helped my son to see and experience people in many walks of life (children's shelters and support activities)and takes him to community events and special/holiday oriented offerings (The Nutcracker). He works with my son on presenting appropriate and responsible male behavior and undoubtedly listens to him and gives support where he needs it (like adjusting through my new marriage and the birth of my second child).
Thank you Greg.
-Christine Ikeazor

Steven Walker, Age 9
Lawrenceville, GA

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Mentor: Danika Tapia

With lots of love I want to tell you that God sent you in the hardest times of my life. Although you didn't know me you came to me lovingly, and you opened your heart, and gave me your friendship. You gave me your support, and gave me good advice, like a true friend. You always make me and my family smile. You let me have confidence in my father. And overall you helped me believe in true friendship. I'm not telling you this just because its mentor's day, im always going to recognize that.And for being the way you are God gave you the chance to see your mom walk again. God bless you and yours. I will always be there for you, like you did for me. love you always your friend,

Virginia Partida, age 15
Brawley, CA

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Mentor: Tech Talk Editorial Committee

This committee of volunteers has graciously donated its collective time and energy to mentor technicians in laboratory animal science who are learning to write articles for publication. Each member of the Tech Talk Editorial Committee has mentored at least one article through our process. I wish to say "Thank YOU" for offering your hand to guide, encourage, and inspire technicians, and volunteering your time unselfishly to share your experience.

Amy Ingraham
Ephrata, PA

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Mentor: Dr. James Tenery

As a boy growing up in Kentucky "Doc" came into my life when he was chosen to build a football program in our town. Our county had no high schol football program at the time. Doc did it right by starting at the 5th & 6th grade level. The program worked out of Tom Browning Boy's Club, in Maysville, Kentucky. Mr. John Browning was a local man of tremendous accomplishment. It is my understanding that he is the one who "recruited" Doc to undertake this difficult task. The team was named the Tom Browning Boy's Club BlueDevils. There were around 15 of us who played for Doc all the way through my Sophomore year. That year Doc & Mr. Browning somehow enticed the Kentucky High School Association to allow us to play high school football, officially, for one year! We were listed in all the rankings that year as Tom Browning Boy's Club. We went 5 & 2, causing some opposing coaches to be very unhappy as all thought we would be patsies. Maysville HS then took over the program. The grit and determination shown by Doc and the way he approached life and the the way he handled the players became a life long inspiration to me.

Ron Rigg
Maysville, KY

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Mentor: George Vinet

I had a lot of really horrible family issues going on at home during high school, and I was often lost and confused. Half way through high school I was desperate for a mentor. In the beginning of my junior year I was placed in Mr. V's Hygiene class. He was an absolutely wonderful teacher, eccentric, creative (and he had tenure so there was a bit more freedom in his class). He treated us as adults and we appreciated that. I decided the first day I'd make myself star pupil. On one horrid morning I dragged myself into class, I was a mess. Sensing it Mr. V suggested I stop by his office during lunch. I barely made it. I just stood in the doorway attempting to hold my composure. He took one look at me and said "Those aren't your usual happy eyes." I burst into hysterics. I was sobbing all over the place. It had been two years since I let anything out to anyone. I was so relieved. From that day on I spent every free period I could attempt to get the help that I much needed. I spent endless hours chatting on and on about my childhood, boyfriends, teachers, school, friends. Anything. I would talk just to talk. He listened. really listened. And always followed up by speaking about God. I hated when he spoke about God. Four years later, after life's trials and tribulations I finally can appreciate what he was trying to do for me. Now being a spiritually centered women, who is constantly in prayer I understand what he was trying to teach me. I was a lost train wreck of a teenager. He tried in probably everyway he knows how, to keep me out of harms way. I could never thank him enough for trying. He may have not succeeded at that exact time with me, but when I finally did get my life together. He was the first person I wanted to call to make aware of it. George, Thank you for your love, tolerance and understanding. You will always remain my mentor and good friend.

Maeanne Landgraf
Staten Island, NY

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Mentor: Bessie Ward

She was called Miss Ward by her students but, to me and my fellow Girl Scouts friends, she was just Bessie. A Sunday school teacher and school teacher she was a role model for us all. She brought all her fellow friend teachers around us. They taught many task. We learned to cook , crafts and life skills. After high school, my Dad died. I didn't know how i was going to reach my goal, yes, I wanted to teach. She assisted me five years later with my enrollment form and getting all set for College. I was successful as a teacher. I received my Masters in Mathematics and taught for 36 years. I am retired now but, I always remember my mentor and hope that I have passed mentoring on.

Norma G.
FLorissant, MO

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Mentor: Joy Ward

When I spent a year in New Zealand, Joy came along side me to spur me on in the path I had chosen. She spent countless hours praying for my relationship with Jesus Christ and was the one who helped me break through a life-long lie I had believed. She stayed by my side as I went through hard times and rejoiced with me as I experienced wonderful new aspects of life on my own. She was always a phone call away when I needed someone's wise advice or wanted to share an exciting new revelation about my future. Although I have moved back to the States she remains a wise figure I turn to in all aspects of life. Her warm smile, strong hugs and bright eyes taught me much about genuineness and sincerity in friendships. I praise the Lord He brought such a wonderful woman to teach and guide me during such a time as that. Finding out who you are and what you are capable of is never easy, but Joy made it so much more joyful and enjoyable as she showed me how to see God and seek Him in every lesson. She taught me how to grow up in humbleness and integrity, which I will take with me in every lesson I face. She truly was my "joy" in New Zealand :)

Amanda Owens
Ashland, OH

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Mentor: Elaine Watson

My mother is my mentor. I suppose many people will say it was one of their parents who mentored them so I guess this isn't anything new. However, my mother was a rare breed. My mother married a wonderful man, a doctor, a real wonderful father, but he was an alcoholic. He kept losing his license to practice medicine so my family had to continually move to different towns where he could once again start a practice over. This was difficult on my mother, who had five children to nurture. When I was nine years old, he committed suicide. My mother was left with five children and no job. She did not lie down and die. She took a civil service exam and passed, thus allowing her to get a job working as a case worker for the Department of Social Services. She cared for the elderly and helped place them in nursing homes. She started the first Camp Fire Girls group in Pueblo, Colorado. She served on the board of the ACLU. She was a member of the League of Women Voters, not to mention a host of other volunteer activities in the community including walking the precincts for the democratic party and doing court reports for attorneys. Her greatest achievement, which she called her "Crowning Glory," was raising five children (one of whom was a diabetic) under difficult times and doing it well. My mother never gave up. In fact, she went above and beyond at all times in her home life and in the community. All five children went on to be strong, caring, loving and independent adults full of ambition and determination. She showed me strength of character and the meaning of faith. She now resides in heaven, but I know she can read these words. Thanks, Mom, for making the difference in my life.

Melanie Trondson
Florissant, CO

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Mentor: Stephanie and Stacie Watters

My mentors are my twin cousins named Stephanie and Stacie. They are the coolest twins ever! They would protect me from the bad things in society and make sure i had fun doing everything that was safe. One time i remember we were hanging out at a bowling alley. We went out sice with some of their friends and their friends started smoking cigarettes. I was then thrown one by their friends and the twins grabbed it from me and threw it back. they told me to never use those! They are not good or healthy for you. I felt very good that someone would protect me from such a foul thing.

Cody Watters
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Alex Wazeter


Helene Krause
Somers Point, NJ

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Mentor: Megan Weitz

There is one person who has made the most significant influence on my life and it happens to be my older sister Megan. We are only one year and 4 months apart so we've always been close. Ever since the day I was born Megan has been there for me, guiding me, supporting me, and teaching me talents and skills. When we were young I would watch an activity she did and then I would want to do it too. So Megan would teach me how to do these things; rollerskating, riding a bike, playing basketball. As Megan got older she started Rec. basketball and club volleyball. Seeing how much fun she had made me want to do basketball and volleyball. Megan would help me out with my skills, even if it was just bumping the volleyball around in the backyard. My sister always told me I would do great things in my life and she is definitely is a big factor in all of my achievements, especially sports. If I didn't have her there to push me and encourage me, there is no way I could have done many things, or been successful at them. Megan started track in 7th grade and I thought it was awesome, so i started in 7th grade too. Megan taught me how to throw discus and shot put. She always told me that even though I wasn't as big as most throwers, I could be better than them because of my speed. I did throw in middle shool and in USA Track and Field Club. Megan really pushed me towards my calling in sprinting and jumping. I injured my throwing are the summer before I entered high school so I thought about sprinting more and tried it out my freshman year, as well as high jump. Megan ended up being right about me doing those events because that year I went to reagionals in high jump and state in my sprints. This was a pretty big deal since I was only a freshman. Megan always let me know she was proud of me and that anything is possible. I could not have made it where I am today as a person without her.

Mallory Weitz
Richland, WA

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Mentor: Mark & Valery Wilson

I am very fortunate to have my parents as my greatest mentors and my best friends.

While the road was a little bumpy in my teen years, we made it through and grew closer as a result. Now that I am older, I see their guidance and support in so many little ways which I took for granted at the time.

I always know I can count on my mom and dad to "tell it like it is" and always be honest and upfront with me. I can only hope to offer the same gift to my own children someday.

Sara Winkler
West Palm Beach, FL

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Mentor: Jeanne Zorich

I really appreciate both of my parents, but this is for my mom, Jeanne Ann Zorich, who definitely meets 'mother figure' standards. I have had the privilege of participating in several different sports. My mom was called by one of her high school friends to help coach gymnastics at the gym he had just opened. She accepted the offer and I got to go with her on the days she coached. So I grew up in a gym and now I still can't get away from it. At six years old I started doing gymnastics. At seven I decided I wanted to try soccer like my big brother, so my mom let me do it for a year. Then I went back to gymnastics. Up to fifth grade thats all I did. Then I wanted to try dance. I joined a jazz class for one year. After the class was over, I got to perform a dance with my class. My whole family came to watch, my mom with a boquet of flowers in hand. In middle school, I tried basketball, and volleyball camps for a couple years, and my cousins got us started snowboarding. In high school I continued on with gymnastics, snowboarding, and I started cheerleading and pole vaulting my sophomore year. Through all of those years of participation in all of these events, my mom supported me. She helped me when she could, and to this day, she tells me I do a good job even if I think otherwise. She has spent so much money on all of her kids, me especially, and she's never missed any of our competitions if she could help it. I think she is my biggest fan, but what she doesn't know is that I'm hers too.

Kelen Z.
Richland, WA

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© 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard College