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Bowled Over: Norwalk Students Join Mentors For Fun Spring Outing

Brandon Oldham of Norwalk, mentor in the program, with his mentee, Ulysses, enjoy bowling.
Brandon Oldham of Norwalk, mentor in the program, with his mentee, Ulysses, enjoy bowling. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. – The Human Services Council’s Norwalk Mentor Program recently held its Spring Outing for Mentors and Mentees at Bowlmor on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk.

Over 340 people attended, including the mentees who participate in the program (grades K-12) and their mentors. "Thanks to Bowlmor and Michael “MJ” Jasilewicz Jr., general manager, and his staff for hosting a wonderful event for all of the mentors and mentees to enjoy," the Human Services Council said in a statement.

"With so many challenging issues kids face today, having a caring adult in a child’s life can really make a difference. That’s what mentors can do for a child – just be there and listen to them," the statement said.

"With the school year coming to an end, The Norwalk Mentor Program wants to thank each and every one of the mentors for helping to make the Norwalk Mentor Program a success this year. Not only are our mentors helping kids thrive and succeed in school, the mentors are getting something out of the program as well."

Brandon Oldham of Norwalk, mentor in the program, says: “Being part of the Human Services Council as a mentor has been very rewarding and humbling -- to be able to assist young kids who need just a little extra support to maximize their potential! My mentee, Ulysses, is a fantastic young boy who is very smart, energetic and very kind and it's a privilege to have his trust that I'm there to help him grow.”

The mentor program also had its first HEROES sponsor attend the event. Peggy Craighead of Norwalk became a HEROES sponsor back in December as a way to get involved in the program and sponsor a mentor and mentee match. Craighead attends mentor/mentee events and receives updates throughout the year.

“Because the NMP receives no government funding, we have started the HEROES initiative which allows someone to make a donation to the program and be involved in a different way. A HEROES sponsor can provide additional support, without the commitment of meeting a child once a week”, says Nancy Pratt, director of the Norwalk Mentor Program. “It helps the program grow so that we can match more mentors with students”.

Established in 1986, the Norwalk Mentor Program was the first school-based mentoring program in the country. It serves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade in all 19 Norwalk Public Schools. Students spend one hour per week throughout the school year meeting with the volunteer with whom they are matched. The program currently has more than 260 matches.

Having just completed its 31st year, the Norwalk Mentor Program wants to thank the dedicated volunteers and supportive funders that make our program so successful. We welcome new volunteers to join the Norwalk Mentor Program. By giving just one hour a week, a caring adult can make a difference in a child’s life. If you don’t have time to mentor, consider becoming a HEROES sponsor. For more information, contact Nancy Pratt at npratt@hscct.org, 203-849-1151 x3042

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