2018-02-07 / Front Page

RSVP recognizes local mentors for National Mentoring Month


America Reads Director Kristeen Chambers spends time reading with a student in Cavendish. - Courtesy PhotoAmerica Reads Director Kristeen Chambers spends time reading with a student in Cavendish. - Courtesy PhotoCAVENDISH and SPRINGFIELD — Green Mountain Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is celebrating its local mentors and the work they do to support area children, as National Mentoring Month wraps up.

Karen Maier of Proctorsville, Sharon Stoddard of Springfield, and Charlotte Snyder of Cavendish are part of the America Reads program in the Cavendish Town Elementary School.

“The students enjoy spending quality time reading with Karen. She always has a warm inviting smile to share with students,” said America Reads program Director Kristeen Chambers.

This is Stoddard’s second year with the program, and Chambers described her as “a wonderful volunteer.”

“She is flexible in her schedule and accommodates the needs of all the students she works with,” Chambers said.

Snyder has been with the program for many years, and spends time with students a few times a week in fall and spring.

“The students enjoy spending time with her and gaining skills in reading,” Chambers said.

National Mentoring Month is an annual campaign to draw attention to the need for more volunteer mentors to help America’s young people achieve their full potential, according to Green Mountain RSVP Windsor County Volunteer Coordinator Corey Mitchell, who recently spoke with the volunteers and program directors.

The recognition month began in 2002, and is spearheaded by the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

CNCS sponsors the Senior Corps programs of Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents and RSVP. Green Mountain RSVP mentors help support student learning in three elementary schools in Windsor County, according to Mitchell.

Cathy Vansant and Mary McKenna, who are both from the Upper Valley, have been serving children in the “EveryBody Wins!VT” reading program in the Hartford Elementary School for a few years.

“Mentors are friends who read with the same students every week,” program Director Gwen Tuscon told Mitchell recently. “When children are read to one-on-one by a caring adult, research shows that their reading improves — and so does their interest in other subjects, their confidence, social skills, and interest in school.”

In Springfield, local resident Karl Riotte provides classroom support at Elm Hill School.

“How much I appreciate Mr. Karl! His reliability, compassion for children, and genuine sense of when and where to help make him a quiet influential addition to our class,” said classroom teacher Terry Carter. “Today he attended our class play, and was so kind and overflowing in his praise for their performance.”

Mitchell said that RSVP greatly appreciates the mentor work that all six of the volunteers are doing, and also appreciates Chambers, Tuscon, and Carter for providing the experience.

“You all are awesome!” Mitchell said.

Green Mountain RSVP is a program of Senior Corp and proudly sponsored by Southwestern Vermont Council on Aging. For more information on programs and opportunities, visit rsvpvt.org.

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