The Friends Youth Mentoring Program is grateful for all our Mentors that give their time to make a difference in the life of a young person. This is a positive experience for the kids in the Program, as well as the Mentors. Here are the stories of just a few of our outstanding Mentors. If you want to find out more about our Youth Mentoring Program, attend an upcoming orientation.
Mentor Dan Escajeda’s life has taken him on a pretty exciting journey. He has gone from being a young kid kicking around Texas, to college in Colorado, a family man in Connecticut, and now as an empty nester in New Hampshire. Whether it be coaching his children’s teams to refereeing on a professional level, one strand that went with him at every stop was his passion for soccer. Being that Dan’s three daughters are now adults, he was looking for an outlet to share his knowledge and life experiences. Gopal, a local high school varsity soccer player was looking for a mentor who could help broaden his horizons and widen his perspective on his future. Would you be surprised that Dan and Gopal bonded fairly quickly over the mutual love of soccer? Now, Gopal has someone who can not only help improve his soccer shot, but his shot at college and beyond. What passion can you share from your life’s journey with a youngster? It’s your turn to take a shot!
The inspiration to become a mentor can come from different places. For mentor John Zbehlik, the inspiration stemmed from his daughter Laura. She served as a mentor in our program before departing for college and earned our 2016 Impact Award for her dedication and service to her mentee. It can be said that dedication and service to others is a hallmark of the Zbehlik family. When John graduated from Cornell University, it was those traits that led him to join the military and serve his country. It was those traits that led him to embark on a career path that included being a teacher in South Central Los Angeles and then a police officer in Concord, NH (all the while maintaining a position in the National Guard). Now John continues his service to others with his mentee Manoj, a New American from Nepal. John can easily relate to the immigrant experience as his own parents emigrated from Czechoslovakia, and he would like to see Manoj get some of the same opportunities he had. Manoj can hardly hide the grin when he talks about John, especially when he teases John about beating him at chess. It is clear to see that John has become an inspiration to Manoj. Become a mentor and find out how you can serve as an inspiration to a child in our community.
Mentor candidates sometimes wonder if they need to be an “expert” on child development in order to be successful. When Keith Cassettari applied to be a mentor he readily admitted he did not know much about children. However, Keith brought other assets such as enthusiasm, curiosity, a willingness to learn, and a belief that a mentor can have a powerfully positive impact on a kid.
Keith was matched with Abdi, a New American high school student. From one viewpoint it might seem they wouldn’t have many shared life experiences. Yet, instead of concentrating on what makes them different, Keith and Abdi chose to focus on mutual interests, like basketball. They were able to quickly form a strong bond, sometimes leaning on quick wit and humor. Keith is interested in not just having fun but making sure Abdi has his eye on the future. A mentor can encourage a child’s strengths, and support areas where they may need a leg up. Mentors can also discover personal growth. Together we can work to make our community stronger…one mentor and one mentee at a time. What strengths could you bring to a child’s life?
|Dr. Jeffery Lockhart||Cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Lockhart certainly has a lot of heart as he has been a mentor for a child for almost five years. Biking, hiking, sports outings and trips to museums are among the many activities the match has shared enjoyment in together. The outdoorsy pair has recently taken up fly-fishing! Jeff’s mentee is the second youngest of twelve, so his mentoring relationship with Jeff offers some deserved individualized attention and opportunities to engage in activities he wants. Leading by example, Jeff supports his mentee in his athletic and academic pursuits. He knows the importance of a strong work ethic and has encouraged this in his mentee. We are grateful to Jeff for being a steady, positive influence!|
|Bob Friedlander||When asked what they want from a mentor, mentees’ typical responses can be encapsulated in three words: advice, access and advocacy. Passionate about nurturing the potential of our community’s youth, Dr. Bob Friedlander became a youth mentor in November 2016 and has already fulfilled those wishes in his mentoring relationship. On a regular basis, Bob engages his nine-year-old menteein a variety of “firsts” as his mentee has had limited opportunities to experience the many great places in Concord and beyond. Among other spots, they have visited the Audubon Society, the Concord Public Library, the SPCA shelter and White Park—to go sledding for the first time! Bob has also nurtured his mentee’s natural curiosity and expanded his world by introducing piano lessons, literacy activities and discussions about meaningful topics. Bob knows it’s just about showing up and being himself that makes the difference in his mentee’s life|
|Jim Roche||Navigating a new world can be a daunting experience. But for New American Japhet, he can count on his mentor Jim Roche to help overcome some of those obstacles. Jim came to the Friends Program recognizing the value of a mentor and hoping he could make a positive impact on a youngster. Originally hailing from Minnesota, Jim has his finger on the pulse of New Hampshire via his role as President of Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire. Despite his busy profession, Jim makes the time for Japhet and he knows putting in the effort helps our community grow stronger and become more vibrant.Jim and Japhet will be celebrating their first anniversary together as a match this month. With great enthusiasm they look forward to another year of time spent together shooting hoops, spending time on the water, or engineering another culinary masterpiece (as illustrated in the accompanying photo). Jim knows being a mentor is an opportunity to give back to our community while engaging in some of your favorite activities.|
|George Smith||George Smith of Warner has spent quality time with his mentee for nearly five years. Ever since the two were initially matched when his mentee was ten years old, George has been a consistent role model for a child in need of one. Now in the midst of adolescence, George’s mentee knows he has someone to count on when he needs help navigating his own responsibilities. The pair share many mutual interests including sports, volunteering and conversation over a good meal! George’s thoughtfulness, support and dependability do not go unnoticed as we are in awe of his dedication to his mentee.|
As the state capital, one would expect Concord to have its share of leaders. Tim Sink, Executive Director of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, is one such leader. With over two decades of involvement in the many aspects of the Concord business community, he took his community-mindedness one step further and became a youth mentor for a youngster in need. That is a remarkable gift. It is more than a kind gesture as he is now in his fourth year influencing this youngster in healthy, lasting ways.His mentee is 17 years old and a New American. This youngster originates from a world with stark differences from the Concord community. He arrived to the United States from a refugee camp having faced tragic and oppressive circumstances for most of his life. He has been a very quick study in school, speaks fluent English now, and is very eager to learn all he can about his new country. There is no doubt Tim’s kind-heartedness has readily assisted along the way.