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Nearly 100 Chittenden County mentors celebrate Mentor Appreciation Night at Arts Riot

Madina Arbow, a 21-year-old mentee through Spectrum Youth and Family Services, was the guest speaker at the Chittenden County Mentor Appreciation Night at ArtsRiot in Burlington on Nov. 17. She was introduced by Essex resident Mark Redmond, the executive director of Spectrum. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Madina Arbow, a 21-year-old mentee through Spectrum Youth and Family Services, was the guest speaker at the Chittenden County Mentor Appreciation Night at ArtsRiot in Burlington on Nov. 17. She was introduced by Essex resident Mark Redmond, the executive director of Spectrum.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

The Chittenden County Mentoring Network hosted an appreciation event for mentors and supporters of the local youth mentoring community at Arts Riot last month. Nearly 100 local volunteer mentors gathered together to celebrate mentoring and network with their colleagues in a relaxing setting. The event was sponsored by the United Way of Chittenden County, Wendell’s Furniture, and Mobius, and the featured guest speaker was Madina Arbow, a 21-year-old mentee through the Spectrum Mentoring program.

Adrienne Hanson, an AmeriCorps service member at Essex CHIPS, was one of six mentors from the Essex FriendCHIPS program who attended the event.

“I am grateful for the many mentors in my life who have inspired my personal and professional growth and feel fortunate for the opportunity to serve as a mentor myself,” said Hanson. “Mentor Appreciation Night was an awesome way to connect with other mentors and honor the importance of mentorship in positive youth development.”

Hanson, along with the other attendees, heard an inspirational mentoring story from Arbow, who came to Vermont as a refugee when she was 8.  Arbow benefited from the support of two different mentors who helped encourage her to achieve her goal of being the first person in her family to attend college.  She was introduced by Essex resident Mark Redmond, the executive director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services. Redmond’s family served as Arbow’s host family when she first immigrated to Vermont.

Redmond was grateful for the opportunity to spend time with fellow volunteers. “In light of all the chaos and violence unfortunately occurring in the world right now, it was a tremendous lift to be with people who have no other objective than to give of their time and energy to selflessly help in any way they possibly can young people who are in need,” said Redmond. “I looked at them around the room and remembered the quote, ‘So shines a good deed in a weary world.’”

The group was also served complimentary hors d’oeuvres, and the first 50 mentors were treated to a free drink by the Wagoner Libby Group, a Colchester-based realty partner of Keller Williams Vermont.

According to the “Mentoring Effect,” a study released in 2014 by MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership), one in three youths in Vermont will enter adulthood without having a formal or informal mentoring relationship with a caring adult. Based on an abundance of national research, having a mentor can enhance a young person’s learning skills and help him or her build resiliency and pro-social skills. Youth with mentors are less likely to engage in risky behavior with drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and to grow up to become productive members of society.

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