Local Efforts “Pay It Forward” to Honor Students
Pay It Forward. These three simple words have put into motion a renewed sense of giving back. Not only on the East Coast, honoring victims of recent tragedies, but also right here in the Highest Incorporated City in North America is the spirit of paying it forward alive.
Leadville Today recently learned of some local Pay It Forward acts inspired by NBC anchor Ann Curry to honor the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims. All of the Leadville donors wish to remain anonymous, however their deeds are certainly worth noting.
A local window washing company, after hearing about the tragic shooting donated a complete window washing for West Park Elementary School. Nice! Not only will those clean windows let in the bright Colorado sunshine, but a clear view is also a good security measure.
Another local woman whose 9-year-old cousin was one of the students that survived the Sandy Hook shooting, felt compelled to do something. So she and her husband sent out texts and made a few phone calls to friends. The result was a $500 donation to the Holy Family Parish food bank.
For those unfamiliar with the Pay It Forward movement created by Curry, she was initially inspired by New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who wrote the name of one of the victims on his cleats; the students was one of his biggest fans.
Upon seeing that tribute, Curry took to Twitter to issue a challenge of good will to her more than 1.3 million followers. The rest of that story can be followed in detail on Twitter under the hashtag #26Acts, in honor of the 26 students, teachers and staff lost on Dec, 14, 2012.
What started off as a tweet has now become a social media movement. And while Leadville residents are NOT the biggest Twitter users, Leadville Today will make sure the Leadville/Lake County community will be properly represented in the Pay It Forward movement. #Leadville #26Acts
Mentoring Celebrated in Jan., Year-Round at Full Circle
By Marty Remsen, Full Circle Mentoring Coordinator
January is National Mentoring Month. At Full Circle we celebrate all the mentors that we have had in our personal lives, and the mentors that volunteer their time for the youth in our community.
Mentoring provides a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement (adapted from Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership and Robyn Hartley’s “Young people and mentoring: towards a national strategy” 2004 Report).
At its most basic level, mentoring helps because it guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day worries.
Think back. Did you know how to study for a test or make plans for college? Do you remember wanting your first car or looking for a part-time job? Simple things that seem easy or straightforward to you now may appear to be a complete mystery to a young person.
Mentors provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations.
- Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
- Mentors provide support for students trying new behaviors.
- Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).
- About 40% of a teenager’s waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision. Mentors provide teens with a valuable place to spend free time.
- Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills. http://www.mentoring.org/about_mentor/value_of_mentoring
As we look back on our lives we can all think of adults who served as a mentor. Some were formal, like coaches and teachers. Others were informal, like our favorite aunt or a friend of our parents. I think of my high school cross country running coach, who taught us to enjoy running and keep going even when it hurt. Or my parent’s friend from college who would show up with exotic food (at least to me and my siblings) and stories of his travels through the US. As I grew older I would seek out mentors in my college advisor, my co-workers and the women of the generation before me who could share their knowledge about life. Not all children have access to these positive role models and so Full Circle connects mentors and youth.
When I first moved to Leadville, I learned about Full Circle and the programs they led with youth in the community. I had always wanted to be a mentor, but never lived somewhere long enough to do it. Finally, I had found a place I wanted to set down roots and get involved with my community, Leadville. Becoming a Full Circle mentor was a logical step for me. I have had several mentees over time, and gotten something different out of every relationship. I am reminded how to have fun: to go to the pool just to play, and take every jump down every ski run at Ski Cooper. I have watched my mentee grow into a young man and have gone from waiting for him to catch up to me while skiing, to having him wait for me to catch up to him. Now I work at Full Circle, but still find time to volunteer with my mentees. It is a way for me to honor my past mentors and to get involved in our community.
Mentors give of their time and energy and we thank every one of you for being a mentor to someone! I encourage you to take time to thank a mentor in your life and to consider volunteering to become a mentor for a young person in our community.