‘It helps me bond with other peo­ple’

FLOW stu­dents learn about nutri­tion

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­[email protected]­news.com

The St. Mary’s pub­lic schools’ Fu­ture Lead­ers of The World men­tor pro­gram con­tin­ues to look for adults who can guide chil­dren with mak­ing bet­ter de­ci­sions and set­ting healthy goals.

“If we had more men­tors,” then FLOW men­tor­ing could ex­pand to in­clude more chil­dren, Tammy Burrs, pub­lic schools’ coor- di­na­tor of spe­cial pro­grams, said. The pro­gram cur­rently op­er­ates in most of the el­e­men­tary schools in the county.

Burr said each el­e­men­tary school pro­gram is “a lit­tle dif­fer­ent” and “tai­lored to the in­di­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties” at each build­ing.

There are up to 10 chil-

dren who par­tic­i­pate at the pro­gram of­fered at Lex­ing­ton Park El­e­men­tary School. Those who are in­ter­ested can ap­ply to work one on one with el­e­men­tary school stu­dents by fill­ing out a school vol­un­teer form and a men­tor form, Burrs said.

Alama Shearin, FLOW pro­gram site leader, said stu­dents need adults to model healthy eat­ing habits, as well as help chil­dren with “per­sonal, aca­demic and health goals.”

Lex­ing­ton Park fifth-grader Melvon’dre Thomas said he likes be­ing in the FLOW men­tor pro­gram, and tells his class­mates to join “be­cause it’s fun.” He said he would be work­ing on home­work or play­ing out­side if he didn’t have the chance to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram.

His men­tor, Aman Kankaria, said he was tak­ing a year off be­tween his un­der­grad­u­ate and med­i­cal school, and de­cided to vol­un­teer for the pro­gram. He said he heard about it while he was a stu­dent at Great Mills High School’s STEM academy. He said he hoped to con­tinue vol­un­teer­ing.

David Berry, a men­tor, is in the Navy and this is his first year vol­un­teer­ing with the FLOW pro­gram. He said he has a de­gree in el­e­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion and wants to even­tu­ally work with the Navy’s child and youth pro­grams.

Berry said he wanted to vol­un­teer at St. Mary’s pub­lic schools in class and af­ter school, sim­i­lar to vol­un­teerism he did while on de­ploy­ment in Ja­pan.

Dur­ing a re­cent men­tor­ing ses­sion, school nurse Lau­rie Lan­caster told mentees about what foods pro­vide nec­es­sary vi­ta­mins to main­tain their health. She said stu­dents would hope­fully make bet­ter de­ci­sions about what they snack on.

Burrs said much of the FLOW pro­gram fund­ing is pro­vided by a grant from the county gov­ern­ment lo­cal man­age­ment board to pay for trans­porta­tion and other costs. She said stu­dents can get a snack from the school cafe­te­ria be­fore the pro­gram is hosted once a week in the af­ter­noon.

She said les­son plan­ning for the pro­gram re­volves this school year on ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents to make bet­ter choices about what they eat.

Fourth-grader Har­mony Thomas, Melvon’dre’s sis­ter, said she en­joys be­ing in the pro­gram be­cause she likes to be cre­ative. She said she and other stu­dents were mak­ing a peanut but­ter power “fruitwich,” an open-face sand­wich on multi­grain bread that could be topped with ap­ples, car­rots or banana slices. She said she prefers creamy peanut but­ter over crunchy.

Her men­tor, Robin Har­vey, said this is her fourth year vol­un­teer­ing for the pro­gram. Har­vey said if peo­ple are con­cerned about be­ing the right fit for the pro­gram, they should keep in mind that it’s more about “your will­ing­ness to give your time and ef­fort for a good cause.” She said many stu­dents don’t re­ceive the kind of one-onone sup­port of­fered through the men­tor­ing pro­gram.

Ivie Lowe, a fifth-grader at Lex­ing­ton Park El­e­men­tary, said she en­joys be­ing in the pro­gram be­cause it of­fers “a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties to do and it helps me bond with other peo­ple.”

Fifth-grader Cath­leen “Cat” Carlisle said she would be “sit­ting at home play­ing video games or watch­ing TV,” if she weren’t a mentee.

Class­mate Devon Knott said he likes his men­tor, Dar­rell Hall, be­cause “he is kind and car­ing.” He raised his hand sev­eral times dur­ing the dis­cus­sion about where to find cer­tain vi­ta­mins in food, and made a peanut but­ter and banana sand­wich for a snack at the pro­gram meet­ing.

Hall said that Knott is “a nice lit­tle chap who can be stub­born at times.”

This is his sec­ond year to vol­un­teer and he likes “help­ing the kids, Hall said, adding, “They need strong male fig­ures.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, see www. sm­cps. org/ strate­gic­plan­ning/flow-men­tor­ing.

STAFF PHOTO BY JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI

FLOW stu­dents Devon Knott, left, and Cath­leen “Cat” Carlisle wait as Ivie Lowe scoops peanut but­ter ear­lier this month for her snack while men­tor Robin Har­vey and mentee Har­mony Thomas build their sand­wich.

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