SAVVY Men­tor­ing pro­gram cel­e­brates suc­cess­ful year

Record Observer - - Community - By JOSHUA FREE­MAN jfree­man@ches­pub.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Project SAVVY men­tors gath­ered for a lun­cheon on Wed­nes­day, June 21, at the Ken­nard Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter in cel­e­bra­tion of their ser­vice to Queen Anne’s County.

In con­junc­tion with Char­ac­ter Counts, Project Savvy Com­mu­nity Men­tor­ing Pro­gram pro­vides men­tors to chil­dren from fifth grade through high school in ef­fort to as­sist with dif­fer­ent needs as well as help them be suc­cess­ful in and out of the class­room. Men­tors and mentees com­mit 12 months to the pro­gram and meet on a weekly ba­sis.

“I think we have a real need out there,” said Elaine But­ler, pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, “and I’d like to help fill that need.”

SAVVY, which is a acro­nym for Sup­port­ive Adults Valu­ing Val­i­dat­ing Youth, looks to in­crease aca­demic per­for­mances in stu­dents as well as in­crease self-es­teem and cul­tural aware­ness. The men­tors meet with their kids dur­ing school but are en­cour­aged to meet dur­ing school breaks to fur­ther build a strong re­la­tion­ship.

Guests were served a va­ri­ety of food and en­joyed con­ver­sa­tions that in­volved story-telling and laugh­ter that ex­tended be­yond the in­tended two-hour cel­e­bra­tion.

“I en­joy work­ing with all the people in­volved in the pro­gram,” said men­tor Michael Roy. “The pro­gram is a great pro­gram, and I’m sure we will grow in the next few years and become a lot big­ger.”

Mary Ann Buck­ley, who was a teacher and a prin­ci­pal for 45 years, used the men­tor­ing pro­gram to fill the void she found when she stopped teach­ing.

“The men­tor pro­gram gave me a chance to fill that void of not be­ing around the youth, and I’m sure I helped fill a void in her life,” said Buck­ley as she pointed to her mentee of one year, Se­lena Casey.

The men­tors re­ceived cer­tifi­cates at the end of the lun­cheon as a thank you for their ded­i­ca­tion. Dar­ryl Con­tee, a new men­tor who moved to Queen Anne’s County this year, was ex­tremely grate­ful.

“My main goal is to make a pos­i­tive im­pact on a child in this com­mu­nity. When I moved here, I wanted to find a way to achieve that goal, and I found it with this pro­gram,” Con­tee said.

As for the fu­ture of the pro­gram, But­ler was very pos­i­tive.

“I’m hop­ing that we will be a very well es­tab­lished col­lab­o­ra­tive of dif­fer­ent groups of people that can find the youth that need help and make them suc­cess­ful by plac­ing them in school or in work, en­sur­ing the fu­ture of our chil­dren,” But­ler said.

Men­tors must be at least 18. There is an ap­pli­ca­tion and in­ter­view process. Ref­er­ences are re­quired. Crim­i­nal back­ground checks and drug test­ing are re­quired.

Prospec­tive men­tors should con­tact But­ler at 410-758-6677, ext. 2136.

PHO­TOS BY JOSHUA FREE­MAN

A few men­tors were un­able to at­tend, but present men­tors and mentees en­joyed much con­ver­sa­tion.

Elaine But­ler sur­prises Co-Chair­per­son Mary Walker with an award for her ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice.

Dar­ryl Con­tee ac­cepts his first award as a men­tor from Chair­per­son Elaine But­ler.

Men­tors were pre­sented a thank you cake for their con­tri­bu­tions.

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