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Lewes, Delaware
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December 24, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 24, 1998
 

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CAPE G, Thursday, December 24 - December 30, 1998 - 37 SCHO0]00 &amp; EDUCATION Creative Mentoring program aims for 'win-win' situations Training adults to help children achieve goals and build mutual trust By Jen EUingsworth The one-on-one relationship between mentor and child can prove to be an invalu- able experience. While the child has the special attention of a caring adult and receives encouragement to develop his nat- ural talents and gains confidence, the men- tor is able to build trust and see the direct influence of their knowledge, life experi- ence and skills. Creative Mentoring is a Newark-based program that trains adults to be mentors to work with children and achieve these goals and more. The free program is the result of the development and research of another successful program, Creative Grandparenting, Inc. While it is based and mainly concentrat- ed in New Castle County, Jim Crellin, Creative Mentoring's assistant director, said the program is interested in increasing the participation in Sussex and Kent coun- ties. Locally, Creative Mentoring is offering its training programs for mentors through training sessions in Georgetown. The interest in spreading the word in Sussex isn't a new concept, though. Crellin said since Creative Mentoring recently became state funded, the program is able to expand its outreach into other areas of the state besides its home base. "Before, we were focusing on New Castle County because that's where we are," said Crellin, a retired duPont employ- ee and a participant in Creative Grandparenting Inc. "Now, because we're state funded, we're able to focus more on Kent and Sussex County and offer this free program." Gov. Tom Carper is a strong supporter of the program also, said Crellin. Creative Mentoring works directly with the gover- nor's office and the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce to offer mentor training services to businesses. Creative Mentoring is also working with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Help One Student to Succeed (HOST) program, First State Mentor Corps/Americorps and the University of Delaware. In addition, Creative Mentoring presents an annual Anne Marie Fahey Mentor award to the mentor who has been deemed to have done the most to expand the statewide field. In order to be qualified through the Creative Mentoring program, a mentor must complete a three-and-a-half hour training session that covers the process, appropriate and inappropriate roles for in- school mentors and listening and communi- cation skills essential to successful mentor- ing relationships. The training program sessions, all based on the "Mentor Training Manual," are offered free of charge to anyone who'd like to become a mentor. No experience or pre- requisites are necessary. Once trained, mentors are channeled through hosts at participating schools. Mentors spend from 30 minutes to one hour once a week with their "mentees." The schedule depends upon each school's specific schedule. Creative Mentoring helps schools recruit members. While currently only at elemen- tary schools, Crellin said the program hopes to expand in the near future to include middle school CRELLIN and high school-aged children as well. Crellin said Rehoboth Elementary School currently has four mentors who have completed their training and are ready to begin mentoring at the facility. Garnet Smith, social worker at Rehoboth Elementary, is the school's coordinator for the program, who said it was discovered by principal Estella Selby when she attended a meeting this summer. Smith said the program will prove bene- ficial for students at Rehoboth Elementary School because it will give them a different approach to problem-solving and will offer them another outlet to create solutions. Creative Mentoring will also help chil- dren talk about behavioral and emotional concerns with their mentors and foster a healthy relationship with another adult. "With the demands that are placed on families today, children are needing more and more attention from other sources," she said, adding that the program will help to fill that void. She said the program, now in its devel- opmental stage at the school, is already being well-received by the faculty. Currently, five mentors have been trained for the program at Rehoboth Elementary. While Crellin said the program hopes to increase its list of Sussex schools that par- ticipate, Rehoboth Elementary School and two elementary schools in Laurel are cur- rently participating. He stressed that Creative Mentoring is a win-win situation for both mentor and child and gives the community a better chance to be informed about schools in general. "It's a great way for them [mentors] to give back,, he said. "It also affords the community a better opportunity to get in there and see what the education process now is all about." He said the number of mentors and chil- dren who participate in the program, now in its seventh year, has seen a dramatic increase. Crellin said the program now fea- tures 40 schools in Delaware with more than 900 mentors. For more information about the Creative Mentoring program, call (302)-633-6226 or e-mail <jcrellin@xicom.com>. The next training program, "Elements of Effective Mentoring," 12:30-4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the Delaware Technical & Community College. Participants should call Creative Mentoring to register. 'The Night BefoJ'e Christmas' a classic poem A stuffy professor once wrote a poem as a gift for his six children. Legend has it that he drew the image of Santa Claus, a white bearded, fat, jolly man from a roly-poly Dutchman who drove his sleigh that day. It was Christmas Eve, 1822. Clement Moore was a professor of classics at the General Theological Seminary in New York. The poem created a new image of Santa Claus, who, until that time, had been a rather stern person, clothed in dark robes ("Clement Moore - Urban Legends and Folklore," online). In the poem, Moore creat- ed a vision that we still adhere to today: A jolly Santa on a sleigh with eight reindeer, flying through the sky. The poem was initially an embarrassment, and Moore refused to have it published until 15 years after he wrote it. He called it a "mere trifle." Today, all of his other works forgotten, this mere trifle lives on as the most recognized poem of our time. Take time to read it to a child. The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas) By Clement Moore 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the SCHOOL JOURNAL house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her 'l<erchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled in for a long winter's nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow Gave lustre of midday to objects below. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer. With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted and called lhem by name. "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen[ To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!" As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obsta- cle, mount to the sky, So up to the house top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas, too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed in a fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tar- nished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chim- ney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all fell like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, "HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!" Diane Saienni Albanese is a parent and a teacher in the Cape Henlopen School District and at Delaware Tech in Georgetown.