Mentoring lasts a lifetime

Dear Henrico Citizens,

Public schools across the country are charged by businesses, parents, and communities at large to produce well rounded graduates that possess the skills required to face the challenges of the future. It is a tall order but one that must be taken seriously to ensure that the citizens of tomorrow have the self-confidence and life skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives. In an effort to provide as many positive experiences as we can
Pat Russo
during the adolescent years, Henrico County Public Schools is committed to partnering with adults across the greater Richmond Metropolitan area to provide role models for students in and out of the classroom setting.

In January 2009, the Henrico County School Board challenged a committee comprised of school system professionals from a variety of areas to review current mentoring programs within the school division. The committee was asked to make recommendations on how to improve and enhance those efforts. A survey was initiated by the Superintendent to all elementary, middle and high school principals in the school system and from this data a matrix of “mentoring” practices was developed and presented to the committee. Upon assessment of all survey results, it became evident that there were various models of mentoring practices implemented in Henrico County Public Schools, ranging from peer mentoring to tutoring to community-based mentoring.

In an effort to support existing programs as well as to develop new initiatives, the mentoring committee made six recommendations:
• Provide $100,000 to develop and improve mentoring programs in our schools,
• Target the 7th, 8th & 9th grade student population,
• Assign a district-wide coordinator who would administer all mentor programs in Henrico County Public Schools,
• Identify a school-based mentoring coordinator or committee who would be responsible for monitoring these services at their school,
• Provide professional development for schools, and
• Identify, solicit, investigate, and tap into the talent of baby boomers, retirees, businesses and foundation partnerships, faith based organizations, universities, public servants and school division personnel to mentor as part of their responsibilities.

Based upon recommendations from the mentoring committees, the Director of Nontraditional Programs was asked to develop a plan to implement the Henrico HEROES (Helpers Engaged In Reaching Our Excelling Schools) program. This effort targets the development or enhancement of school based mentoring programs that include teacher mentoring, student mentoring and community based mentoring potentially supporting more than 11,000 Henrico County Public School students.

Seventeen secondary schools have been awarded funding to establish mentoring programs that would provide role models who are committed to developing supportive relationships with our students. There is substantial research to support that students who have supportive mentors make considerable improvements in overall academic performance. The key to this success is that a trusting relationship is established, nurtured, and continued on a long-term basis.

Henrico County schools has answered the call and created diverse programs that provide opportunities for volunteers from all walks of life. The charge is now up to you as members of our Henrico community to seriously consider this opportunity to volunteer and commit to mentor one of our youth. It is a volunteer opportunity that will change your life and expand horizons for a young person.

Dr. Pat Russo,
Superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools

Reynolds CC to host sculptor Paul DiPasquale

Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.

Free children’s clothing for those in need

The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Theme for this year’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter announced

The theme for the annual Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Lakeside has been announced.

This year's event, which opens Nov. 25 and will continue through Jan. 9, will explore "Living Color" and show how the world's kaleidoscope of colors speaks to people, impacts nature and influences culture, according to Garden officials. The event features more than a half million lights, botanical decorations, trains, holiday dinners, family activities and more. > Read more.


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The Henrico Education Foundation will present an “Evening with Henry Winkler” from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Glen Allen High School. The evening will include remarks and conversation with Winkler, coffee and dessert, a book sale and signing. Winkler is best known for his role as Fonzie on the popular 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” and his fictional young adult book series, “Hank Zipzer.” Individual tickets are $25 and tables of eight are $150. For details, call 652-3869 x3 or visit Full text

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