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Caz Friend to Friend Mentoring Program: Huge success

The Cazenovia Friend to Friend Mentoring group poses after its final event last spring. Mentors Lila Seeley, left, Caroline Marshall, Lauren Devine, Samantha Fox, Pat Karmis, Sally Langan, Lucy Shephard and Marissa Barrett stand alongside their mentees from Burton Street Elementary School.

The Cazenovia Friend to Friend Mentoring group poses after its final event last spring. Mentors Lila Seeley, left, Caroline Marshall, Lauren Devine, Samantha Fox, Pat Karmis, Sally Langan, Lucy Shephard and Marissa Barrett stand alongside their mentees from Burton Street Elementary School.

— Last year, with the help of Project CAFÉ, a few select high school students partnered up with fourth graders from Burton Street Elementary School and began the “Friend to Friend Mentoring Program.”

Although this program existed several years ago, and had been an idea for awhile, last year was the first year it was officially active.

Mentors meet with their mentees once a week and participate in a wide variety of bonding activities, including reviewing math games, painting, playing sports and reading at the library.

High school students raved about the experience, as they felt they had changed many childrens’ lives. Mentees benefitted, as they improved their educational and social skills while developing important friendships.

The group met multiple times during the school year to share their successes and experiences in their partnerships. They scheduled book clubs, Zumba workouts and ended the year with a historical scavenger hunt around Cazenovia.

“I’m really glad we planned a group event to celebrate the end of the year”, said mentor Lucy Shephard. “It was fun to meet and interact with the other mentors and mentees, and work together to complete the scavenger hunt. Not only did the kids have fun, but they learned a lot about Cazenovia’s history. I’m looking forward to more events in the future.”

The mentoring program continues to grow, and is looking forward to another great year. The group hopes to not only participate in fun games and activities to build friendships and bonds, but to become more active in the community.

Those who are interested in participating, or have any questions about the Friend to Friend Mentoring Program, contact projectcafe@caz.gmail.com.

Sally Langan is a student at Cazenovia High School and president of Project CAFÉ. She can be reached at splangan@gmail.com

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