The Career Mentor Program held its first (and hopefully first annual) event for mentors and mentees. On Friday morning, 45 middle school students from Marietta, Warren, and Fort Frye, and 16 mentors from the Washington County area arrived at the beautiful Marietta College (MC) campus to spend some time together. The opening speaker, Paapa Nkrumah-Ababio, is a MC senior in the petroleum engineer program and an international student from Ghana in Africa. His message set the tone for the day....Engage. Learn. Lead.
Designed as a bonding experience for mentors and mentees, the expectation was for the middle school students to push themselves beyond their comfort zone and learn something by engaging with people that they don't know. Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Director of Civic Engagement at MC, planned the activities for the day to make sure the students and mentors learned about each other and discussed ways to lead back in their schools. Of course, the real bonding experience for everyone involved in the day was the unexpected fire alarm that sent us out of the building to hang out on the mall for a while. We ended the day with lunch in the Andrews Hall Great Room and everyone (adults and students) making a commitment to change one thing for themselves. Smiles could be seen on the faces of students and mentors alike. Everyone enjoyed the day as evidenced by the following quotes :
“I thought today was really fun because we did a lot more than I expected we would do. I got a lot about other people, like learning about other people from different schools. It was awesome!” 7th grader, Marietta Middle School
"New experiences to meet new people and learning never to shy away from something you can do”. 8th grader, Warren Middle School
This student paid particular attention to the opening speaker as evidenced by this quote: “Something that I learned is really you can inspire yourself to do anything. You just have to engage and learn then lead. It’s that simple. I didn't think it was that simple but it really was.”
Mentors also offered their feedback on the day:
"I thought it was enjoyable to work with some of the other kids in the program and to see that my interaction with my kid is the same as the other kids. I’m going to have to do something different to get a different response from my student. It was a good experience”. Dustin Becker, Fort Frye mentor
“What I liked was zeroing in on honesty and kindness and hard work. A couple of our guys committed to harder work. I thought the exercise to get them to open up and ask questions to get to know others went well.” Steve Hand, Warren mentor
"I was very pleased with the workshop, particularly the speaker at the beginning of the workshop. Paapa gave a very inspiring talk that I think resonated with students and mentors alike. The opportunity later in the workshop to interact with the students was very worthwhile, also." Tom Cline, Marietta mentor
As you can see, lots of positive things came out of this event and we are excited to begin thinking about next year. We appreciate the mentors taking time out of their busy days to attend along with the students who were brave enough to step out of their comfort zones. Also, many thanks go to the staff from the schools who helped to get the students involved. Thank you to Maribeth Saleem-Tanner and her college student volunteers for organizing and running the event. Finally, thank you to the following businesses who donated pizza, cookies, and cupcakes for lunch: Dough Boys Pizza, The Sweet Stop, and the Village Cakery.
Want to be involved in next year's Career Mentor program? Just contact us and let us know....training sessions will take place during the summer.