Is This Your Year to be Epic? Mentor with Seedling

School has begun, and our Mentors are pairing up again with their young friends in Austin’s public schools.

Some are continuing a friendship that has grown over years, and some are beginning a brand new relationship, but they all have one thing in common…

They have been well-trained, and they are highly supported in their mentoring.

That sounds so simple and logical, doesn’t it? And yet, this kind of preparation and continuous support of the mentoring relationship is rare. It is not the cheapest way to mentor, and it is not the easiest way to mentor, but we have found through multiple years of independent evaluation that it is one of the very best ways to mentor.

Here are some comments from our Mentees…

Is this your year to be epic? 

Visit Seedling, and learn about high-quality mentoring for children who are challenged by parental incarceration. You can be an agent for change in a child’s life, and we will help you to enjoy the journey. Sign up today, and start a mentoring relationship that will benefit you and your new little friend.

We look forward to hearing from you.

http://www.seedlingfoundation.org

 

 

Posted in Children in Poverty, Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Seedling Mentees Speak Out | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father’s Day When Daddy is in Prison

Dads-Day-Video-StillThis year, Google sponsored a video that was a heartfelt letter from children challenged by parental incarceration to their fathers in prison.

Watch and listen, because to hear a child’s feelings is more compelling than any statistics we could share with you, but trust us, Seedling Mentor Program is research-based, and we will keep sharing those numbers.

This video can give those numbers faces and voices and help us all relate to hundreds of thousands of children of prisoners in this country.

 

What can you do?

You can mentor. One hour a week at a child’s school throughout the school year makes a measurable difference. We know, because we measure it.

Seedling Mentor Program will train you, prepare you, and support you throughout your mentoring journey, and yes, we even measure how effective this kind of mentoring is for our volunteers. 70% or more of our mentors come back year after year and make a life-long impact in a child’s life.

Is the 2016-2017 school year your year to change two lives for the better? We will be here, ready when you are.

Many thanks to Google for sponsoring these videos and sharing them with all of us who care about the children challenged by parental incarceration.

~Seedling Mentor Program Staff

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Seedling College Scholarships – Offering the Future

2016 Scholarship GroupThrough generous donations, the Seedling Foundation has had the privilege of offering our 8th grade Seedling mentees an opportunity to compete for a $5,000.00 scholarship for higher education, to be bestowed upon graduation.

Candidates complete an application, write an essay, and get a letter of recommendation from their mentors. It is a real-world experience and the mentors enjoy being part of it with their mentees. Candidates may apply the funds the higher education institution of their choice.

We are proud to announce that three Seedling mentees were awarded the prize this year! We look forward to seeing them again at the end of their senior year and hearing about their continuing education plans.

Please enjoy some thoughts and declarations from the 2016 winning essays.

“My dad has worked his whole life to support my two sisters and me. He is trying to help us reach our goals in life, and I want him to reach his goals in life, to see his kids grow up to become happy adults.”

“I want to help young people just like me to get through their problems and let them know they are not alone.”

“My mentor has helped me forgive people and learn to leave things in the past. She has taught me to strive for better than what I thought I could have.”

“I have always wanted to be a writer or journalist because I love to write. I am working on my first book and I plan on finishing it. By college, and maybe beyond, I want to look back at myself and say, ‘Wow, I made it this far!’”

Seedling College Scholarship Winners from four years ago were also recognized at the recent Mentor Appreciation Luncheon (PHOTO ALBUM) along with their proud mentors.

Congratulations to Ruth Santiago (Mentor Susana Kaufmann) and Alex Jaimes (Mentor Paul Reddam) and our good wishes will continue to be with you as you cross the stage at graduation and walk into your future.

We are grateful to have been a part of it.

-Seedling Mentor Program Staff

Posted in Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Site-Based Mentoring, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seedling 2016 Angels & Advocates Award to Leroy Nellis

Leroy-Nellis-Capitol-2016Each year, Seedling Foundation is pleased to present the “Angels & Advocates Award” to someone who has been of significant impact on the Seedling Mentor Program. It is presented to recognize a person who has made an “extraordinary contribution, which will improve the lives of children challenged by parental incarceration.”

We are proud to announce that the 2016 recipient of this award is Mr. Leroy Nellis, and we would like to introduce him to you! Leroy received his award at the Seedling Mentor Appreciation Luncheon on May 20, 2016. If you would like to see a video of Leroy’s exuberant acceptance speech, click HERE!

Leroy, tell us a bit about your mentoring background, outside of Seedling.

“My interest in mentoring began fourteen years ago, after annual tours of all the Travis County adult and juvenile jail facilities as a part of my duties as Travis County Budget Director made me aware of our increasing prison population. I decided to get involved with mentoring high-risk children to help them avoid the criminal justice system. I called Austin Independent School District (AISD) and asked for the most challenging kindergarten student in the district. Mr. Mendoza immediately said they had just the student for me.”

“Frederick was a kindergartener in an East Austin elementary school. When I visited and talked to the Assistant Principal, she tried to talk me out of mentoring this particular kindergarten student due to his challenges. I told her that Frederick was just the student I wanted to mentor. This was the beginning of my fourteen year mentoring journey. At first Frederick was distant, and not sure what a mentor was supposed to be, but over several months we became best friends through sharing lunch and recess once a week. The Assistant Principal later said that Frederick’s behavior had significantly improved and she rarely saw him in her office!”

“Excited by that progress, I began assisting AISD by recruiting other volunteers to mentor. Frederick had a friend named Johnny who liked to follow along at recess and always asked when he could get a mentor, too. I would tell him I was working on it. It was difficult to recruit at Travis County for mentors for this East Austin elementary school because of its distance from downtown. Distance made no difference to me since my boss didn’t care when I put in my sixty hours per week of work!”

“Eventually, I asked the Assistant Principal if I could also mentor Johnny but she informed me that his mother wouldn’t let anyone mentor him. I told him that, and he must have talked her into it, because the next week Johnny had permission from his mother and I began to mentor him, as well. Thus my tradition of mentoring two students began. Over the next eight years I followed these two students through transfers to six different schools in four different districts.”

How did you get involved with Seedling Mentor Program?

“When the Seedling Mentor Program was established in 2006, I began mentoring a student in its program in addition to continuing to mentor a student in another program. Ever since, I have routinely mentored at least two students and sometimes three, providing each student (at different lunch periods and different schools) a little of my time to listen to them and try to help them.

Leroy-&-Lupita-2016I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to see these very deserving children run down the halls when they see me coming to have lunch with them, greeting me with a big smile and, ‘Hi, Mr. Leroy!’ The teachers and principals are often as appreciative as the kids, and my lovely wife Lupita loves to hear my stories. “

“I retired from Travis County as Budget Director in 2013 and joined the Seedling Foundation Board of Directors. What a passionate group of individuals! Their common purpose is to provide leadership for the best mentoring program in Central Texas by providing support to the staff in policy development, resources, and volunteer recruitment.”

What is it that draws you to donate to Seedling as your charity of choice?

“In my opinion, the Seedling Mentor Program serves as the most cost-effective program for improving our community by helping our high-risk children avoid the criminal justice system. That is the reason I contribute the majority of my charitable contributions to the Seedling Foundation each year.”

Is there a special mentoring story you would like to share with us?

Leroy-Nellis-Family-2016“I have had individuals ask me if I mentor these children because I don’t have children and grandchildren of my own. The truth is that my wife and I have nine children and fifteen grandchildren who are all glad that I take time to mentor these children.”

“If you are wondering what happened to Frederick, I lost track of him in the eighth grade when he moved to the Dallas area. Last summer I asked an American Statesman reporter to assist me in locating him. To my delight, she was able to locate him and arranged a lunch. He explained to us that he lettered in football for four years, stayed drug free, graduated, and is attending a small Texas University.”

“When the reporter asked Frederick why he stayed in school and stayed off drugs he replied, ”Because Mr. Leroy had me tell a lot of people that I would say no to drugs, study hard, stay in school and go to college!”

“The mentors in the Seedling Mentor Program make a difference in over 600 students’ lives each year and I’m proud to be a small part of this successful mentoring program and very honored to be its 2016 Angels & Advocates award recipient.”

Congratulations, Mr. Leroy!

Posted in Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Mentors & Donors Speak Out, Site-Based Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mentoring and Mother’s Day

This year, Hour Children, Inc., a nonprofit in Long Island City, New York, ran a series of videos that were heartfelt letters from children challenged by parental incarceration to their mothers in prison.

They plan to run a similar series on Father’s Day, and we look forward to sharing them with you.

Watch and listen, because to hear a child’s feelings is more compelling than any statistics we could share with you, but trust us, Seedling Mentor Program is research-based, and we will keep sharing those numbers.

These videos give those numbers faces and voices and help us all relate to hundreds of thousands of children of prisoners in this country.

What can you do?

You can mentor. One hour a week at a child’s school throughout the school year makes a measurable difference. We know, because we measure it.

Seedling Mentor Program will train you, prepare you, and support you throughout your mentoring journey, and yes, we even measure how effective this kind of mentoring is for our volunteers. 70% or more of our mentors come back year after year and make a life-long impact in a child’s life.

Is the 2016-2017 school year your year to change two lives for the better? We will be here, ready when you are.

Many thanks to Hour Children, Inc., for making these videos and sharing them with all of us who care about the children challenged by parental incarceration.

~Seedling Mentor Program Staff

Posted in Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Mentoring Metrics, Site-Based Mentoring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment