Buddy Program hosting lecture by author/mentor
Author and noted “mentor” Dr. Susan Weinberger will travel to Aspen this week for a free community lecture sponsored by The Buddy Program.Weinberger will also test her theories on the importance of adult role models when she helps Aspen Middle School develop a mentoring pilot program.Weinberger’s lecture, “Changing the World One Child at a Time: The Power of Mentoring,” will begin at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Given Institute. A free pizza party – which will feature childcare for adult attendees – will precede the lecture at 5:30 p.m.Weinberger is the author of the role model guide book, “My Mentor & Me.” She is known as a member of the National Mentoring Partnership board of directors, and as the creator of the first school-based mentoring program in the United States.Her talk will focus on the many benefits of mentoring – not only for children, but for the adults who become involved in efforts like The Buddy Program.”It’s pretty simple,” Weinberger said in an interview with Buddy Program volunteers. “Adults who become mentors feel a lot better about themselves, and it carries over to the other relationships in their lives. Being a mentor means being more patient, re-learning the simple ability to listen and gaining a fresh perspective on life – a reinvigoration of core values and beliefs.”Children will see improved social skills, as well. Just a few hours each month with a reliable adult role model will make a difference in that child’s life, Weinberger said.”Every successful person will tell you about at least one person, whether it was someone in the neighborhood where they grew up, a church or synagogue, at school or at work, who acted as a mentor,” she said.This philosophy will be put to the test on Tuesday, when Weinberger meets with Aspen Middle School administrators and staff to develop the school’s first mentor program. The program will benefit 12-15 students in its first year, but could expand to the rest of the school – and, perhaps, to the rest of the school district – if successful results develop this year.Changes in family dynamics, changes in the world after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – children carry a lot of stress these days, and could use the support of a caring adult, Weinberger says. “Children are starving today – not so much for a healthy meal, but for adult attention,” she said. “If somebody says, ‘I care about you,’ it makes more difference than you know.”
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