Honoree: Mentor Group
Team Members: Eva Weinberg, Elizabeth Elfend, Jane Manolakas, Laura Palitz, Maurine Hawkins, Sharon Maister, Toni Berman, Erica Taylor, Melanie Coble, Deborah Nassir, Julie Lobel, Karen Singerman, Marci Schlomovits, Alin Barak, Amy Stoll, Gali Glantz, Caprice Johansen, Ali Razin, Suzi Gabi
Honored by: Human Options
Cause Area: Human & Family Services
The name might sound vague but their intent and impact is big. During the past ten years the Mentoring Group has brought happiness, fun, and a welcome respite to families escaping domestic violence at the Human Options emergency shelter.
This group of mothers with their teen daughters and sons arrives throughout the year-Valentine’s Day, Spring Celebration, Mother’s Day, Halloween, and Winter Holidays-to make sure our families can share some quality family fun time. Often times, holidays, especially Mother’s Day, can be difficult for our mothers and their children. They have been traumatized by violence and are in new and unfamiliar surroundings. But this group works hard to be sure they feel special and know that someone cares for them.
This group plans and provides all the necessary items for our families to just relax and have fun together. They bring everything for a good time–food, craft projects, games and activities, and make sure the room is decorated and festive. The Mentoring Group teens interact with the shelter kids, helping them create cards for Valentine and Mother’s Day, craft pumpkins, and decorate holiday cookies – just to name a few activities that have been done over the years. They even bring Halloween costumes for our kids to wear to trick or treat! Plus the Mentoring Group teens provide games and activities for the families to participate in.
All of this is designed to create a positive, memorable experience for everyone. During these events we have heard our clients say things like, “This is so special! No one has ever bought flowers for me before”, “This is the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in a long time”, and “This is so cute, I love it”. These quotes are just one way we know this group makes a difference. The smiles and laughter in the room are further proof that our families have been given a chance to just enjoy each other in a safe place away from the sadness and trauma that brought them to the emergency shelter in the first place.
An important goal for the Mentoring Group is to not only bring joy but to also model positive, healthy communication and relationships. A cornerstone for the work Human Options does at the shelter is teaching parents and children healthy communication. The Mentoring Group helps reinforce these skills and plays an important role in modeling healthy behavior for these families.
Human Options is proud to nominate the Mentoring Group and believes they have truly lived the Spirit of Volunteerism over the past ten years. We believe they are a vital part of making our emergency shelter a positive, healthy place for our client families. Holidays at the shelter would not be the same without them.