SAVVY Mentoring program celebrates successful year
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.
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.