Creating Emotionally Intelligent Children – Mentors Can Help!

emotional intelligenceSeedling Mentor Program invests in its mentors with support and education. 

We do this because we believe that an educated and supported mentor will be more successful, and successful mentors feel great about what they are doing!  That is important to us.

Emotions…to some of us this one little word can be very uncomfortable because, frankly, not everyone is open to sharing their feelings.  Our emotions have power and are capable of enhancing or compromising so much.  Our memory, learning, decision-making, our judgment, the quality of our relationships, physical and mental health, can all be affected or influenced by our emotional state.  Physically, our emotions cause a shift in our breathing and heart rate and can alter our facial expressions, body posture and behavior.

Our emotions really matter!

RULER imageAt last month’s Seedling Mentor Training, mentors were presented with research from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, along with the Center’s innovative tools and strategies in identifying and regulating emotions.  These tools, part of the RULER Approach, are being implemented into classrooms across the U.S. with the goal of creating a more effective and compassionate society.

The Yale Center defines Emotional Intelligence this way:

Recognizing emotions in one’s self and others

Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions

Labeling emotions accurately

Expressing emotions appropriately

Regulating emotions effectively

Watching a 17-minute video (a TEDTalk) to learn about the RULER approach is well worth the time.  Follow this link to watch Marc Brackett, Yale Center Director, discuss Emotional Intelligence on TEDxGoldenGateED.  YouTube TedTalk

A wonderful way for mentors to help mentees identify and regulate their emotions is introducing them to The Mood Meter.  This colorful graph lists feeling words that one can choose that best identifies his/her emotion on a scale from pleasant to unpleasant, as well as rating energy level from low to high.

To view the Mood Meter in English – click here.

To view the Mood Meter in Spanish – click here.

To learn about Mood Meter activities  – click here and click here.

The Mood Meter is also available as a mobile app for your phone:

~Seedling Mentor Program Staff


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Seedling Donors and Mentors Speak Out: Rolando Fernandez

Rolando-Girls-SFBlogRolando Fernandez will tell you; he is wearing many hats these days!

He is the Assistant Director of the Contract and Land Management Department for the City of Austin, a Director of the Board of Seedling Foundation, a current Leadership Austin Essentials Class of 2016 member, a dedicated husband, a devoted Dad to two beautiful little girls, and he is a proud mentor. You can read more about Rolando in his board biography.

We caught up with Rolando recently and asked, “How long have you been involved with Seedling Foundation and why?

“This will be my seventh year mentoring – five years with my first mentee who is now a sophomore in High School and I am currently on year two with my second mentee who is a second grader. I’ve served on the Seedling board for four years.”

“The mission and purpose of Seedling is what attracted me to volunteer and then serve on the board. I experienced my father’s incarceration as I was growing up and felt and still vividly recall the impact it had on my mother, siblings and me. My father did his best to learn from his mistakes, fortunately, but I can personally relate to these children we serve.”

Why do you donate to Seedling?”

“My personal experience of parental incarceration, and reading what are now well-known statistics supporting the importance of mentors and father figures in the lives of children, are what motivate me to support Seedling with my participation and finances. “

You are a Director of the Board, a Donor, and a Mentor.  How do you think those roles enhance each other?

“Being a mentor provides the foundation for my decision making as a board member. The core factors behind any decision that I make in my work with the board are always directly related to what the impacts of these decisions are on our children and mentors. I respect that Seedling’s motto is: “We do what is best for the children.”

What do you enjoy most about serving on the Board of Directors?

“I appreciate the compassion and care the board members have for the children we serve and the mentors that are vital to Seedling’s success. I find it inspiring that the board members who are very busy with family and work, find the energy, time and resources to support Seedling. Seeing firsthand the value our expert staff bring to the forefront in training and supporting our mentors who are valuable to the success of Seedling.”

What is your favorite story about your Mentee? Continue reading

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Please Introduce Us to Your Friends!

Seedling mentors are wonderful human beings, and we’re betting your friends are too! 

You are wellMentor and Mentee attuned to the characteristics great mentors must have and are capable of recognizing those qualities in others.

Would you please take a moment right now to think about one person in your circle you could invite to consider serving as a Seedling mentor? The personal ask is the most effective recruitment tool, but social media can also be a meaningful way to engage your networks.

Here are a couple of samples that Seedling mentors have used this year:

Facebook: (Like the Seedling Foundation page!)

Mentoring Mena today and can’t wait to see her sweet little smile. Seedling Foundation has so many kids like her on their waiting list…just waiting for someone like you and YOUR smile! Consider mentoring or donating to support other people who mentor. Trust me, there will be smiling involved! 

Twitter: (Follow us at @SeedFound!)

Want to #makeadifference? #Mentor! Mentees are less  #anxious/#depressed, have greater  #leadership skills & better academics. @SeedFound

Today, there are 135 youth waiting for a Seedling mentor, and only six more opportunities for new mentors to attend Orientation. Please invite your friends to become a part of the great work you do by visiting us at or calling Diana at (512) 323-6371.

Thank you! 

~Seedling Staff

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Seedling Donors & Mentors Speak Out: Eyna Canales-Zarate

Eyna Canales-ZarateEyna Canales-Zarate is a woman who juggles many roles; wife, mother, grandmother, friend, professional, nonprofit board volunteer, charitable donor, and mentor.

She chooses to invest her time, talent and treasure in Seedling Foundation and we interviewed her recently to ask about her experience.

How did you get involved with Seedling and why?

“I have been a board member with Seedling since 2012 and a mentor since 2014.  I heard of the Foundation several years ago, and was intrigued by its mission. I also discovered that many of the children served needed bilingual mentors. In 2012, one of the board members called me and asked if I would be interested in joining the board. It was not the best time for me since I was providing end of life care for my ailing mother, but after listening to the Executive Director speak so passionately about Seedling, I had to get involved. Seedling appealed to me because I could see tangible results of a mentor in a child’s life through its regular evaluations, and the ability to make a difference in a child’s life is huge.”

Do you donate to Seedling Foundation?

“Yes! I donate to Seedling Foundation, as well as working on its board and as a mentor.  The mission and the results of the work that Seedling’s mentor program accomplishes draws me to contribute more to this organization than any other.”

You are a board member, a donor and a mentor – How do you think those roles work hand in hand?

“Being a mentor keeps me connected to why and who we serve on the board. Oscar, my mentee inspires me to make sure that I give the best of myself to the organization that helps him succeed.”

Do you have a favorite story about your mentee? Continue reading

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Too Old to Mentor?

Older woman Seedling Mentor with young boy Seedling MenteeAging is a natural part of life, and along with a few more lines around the eyes, and a little more caution in moving, comes many valuable gifts.

Wisdom, experience, and for some of us, time to do activities we couldn’t fit in before.

Mentoring can be one of those!

Mentoring with Seedling has four basic requirements:

  • Time – 2 hrs. of training and committing about an hour a week to meet for lunch at a child’s school. We require a full school year’s commitment for the good of the child.
  • Travel – Seedling is a site based mentoring program, and you must be able to travel to and from the child’s school.
  • Background Check – all volunteers in public schools must pass a background check and we will provide that for you at our expense.
  • Heart – Entering the life of a child as a Seedling Mentor is a special gift you give to him or her…and yourself!
Seedling Mentor & Mentee

Image courtesy of stockphoto at

Continue reading

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