Half year of FY19 did not disappoint, as it was full of exciting activities in additional to daily programming. In October, the students participated in what is called "Reverse Trick or Treating". Everyone dressed up in costume, went door to door around Hebron MD area, but instead of recieving candy, gave candy away. It was an amazing lesson for the children about the powerful impact of giving, which can be hard to learn while growing up. The neighborhood seems to always be so surprised by the children in their neighborhood handing THEM candy: they are grateful. The children loves to see the reactions of people they look forward to this event each year.
For this quarter’s highlights, we would like to share a mentoring story. One of our male mentors has been mentoring an Epoch participant for almost six years. In this time, they have formed an incredible bond of trust, encouragement and a mutual respect for one another. Even the mentor’s children call him an uncle. They have shared a lot of great experiences over the past years, including going to sporting events, college tours, going to the movies, time spent with family and having incredible, matching halloween costumes. This is especially impressive, considering that our mentors are not required to meet with mentees outside of program hours. This mentor has gone above and beyond. Of all of these experiences, our very favorite event took place in Q4 of this year. The mentor is a prominent figure in the community, previously having worked in government relations. Through his connections, the mentor was able to arrange a meeting for the mentee and Speaker Adrienne Jones of the House of Delegates. The mentor says this about their experience: “Several months ago, (my mentee) warmed my heart by sharing with me that he wanted to pursue a career in government affairs because he
wanted to help people in his community. One of the greatest examples is Speaker Adrienne Jones of the Maryland House of Delegates. We’re simply blown away by the time she gave us this morning, sharing her story and her journey to the speakership. Not to mention, I can’t believe that she let (my mentee) sit in her chair in the House of Delegates Chamber!” We are so thrilled that this mentor was able to provide his mentee with his experience that could potentially shape his future career and life choices. We are adamant believers that relationships are the key to life change. When relationships are formed, we have the right to encourage success and influence choices. This mentor is a prime example of the meaningful impact of relationships and the selflessness that we should all strive to emulate for the next generation. This is just one example of what is happening in our mentoring relationships; we have the best mentors! Additional highlights from Q4 include the “thank you” picnic held for our mentors and volunteers, and the annual picnic held for families of the students at the end of the year. The Epoch directors also held a parent meeting to give end of year information, the opportunity to enroll students for the next school year’s program, and to give parents information on the upcoming Epoch summer camp. In Q4, our students continued participating in interest hour clubs. Every Tuesday, the students choose between meeting with their cub scout pack, the soccer club, art club or music and dance club. Tuesdays are the favorite day of the week for everyone. In Q4, our directors continued to implement professional development sessions which included a staff meeting on class management and summer camp preparation. Our directors also continued staff feedback times with each staff member bi-weekly. These tools have been positively impacting the services offered by staff and will continue to enhance the program as they continue in future quarters.