On Saturday, January 20th, Free Arts hosted the 2018 Mentor Summit at Children First Leadership Academy. Forty-five new and seasoned mentors came together for an interactive and thought-provoking day filled with activities and discussion centered on self-identity exploration, group development, and the introduction of a brand new Weekly Mentor Program Curriculum. At the top of the day, the focus was on creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone in the space. As volunteers became more comfortable with one another, they were able to dive into some self-exploration and find connections to the reflections and observations of the children participating in Free Arts programming. Just before the lunch break, volunteers exemplified bravery around the room as everyone took part in a storytelling exchange exercise led by Program Manager, Ruth Sager. During lunch, delicious food made by Imelda of Happy Tamales (who has an amazing business with an inspiring story) was enjoyed while Free Arts staff presented updates to the group. This was also the time Free Arts staff recognized volunteers who went above and beyond their call by presenting 3 volunteer awards (more information on those to come!).
Finally, we wrapped up the day by introducing the new Weekly Mentor Program Curriculum, which our wonderful Curriculum Crew developed in 8 months. The staff gave volunteers the valuable opportunity to run through one of the sessions in the new curriculum as a mock mentor group. Overall, the staff and volunteers had a tremendous amount of fun throughout the day and left with a feeling of resilience, hope, and excitement.
“(It was a) great day for old mentors to offer sage to new mentors…Certainly it was a time to connect to new friends as well as gain and offer the same support we give the children.” –Free Arts Volunteer & 2018 Summit Attendee