Talbot Mentors is entering the new year with a new Board President and five new Board Members. Don Cook succeeds Dr. George Gilfillan as President. Shauna Beulah, David Fike, Rita Hill, Gary Pearce and Chris Wyles join the board in its efforts to serve the children of Talbot County.
The new members come on board following the departure of retiring member Deborah Collison, and Bill Phillips and Marilyn Kendall who both resigned due to relocation. Former President Gilfillan remains as a member of the board.
The other members of the Talbot Mentors board are Blenda Armistead, Art Cecil, Tom Fountain, Peter Howell, John Northrop, Marykay Powell, and Beverly Rohman.
Cook, a retired insurance executive, described the Talbot Mentors board as one of the strongest on which he has served. He indicated that its emphasis this year will be to focus on the organization’s core mission of matching volunteers with children who can benefit from additional adult friends in their lives.
With public concerns about the increased crime that a difficult economy can bring, Cook noted that mentoring has positive impacts, helping to keep youths from making bad decisions. “Working with children to build productive, happy and fulfilling lives is as significant as anything we can do for the community,” he added.
Cook welcomed the new Board Members and the strengths they each bring to Talbot Mentors in terms of business and nonprofit skills and community ties. Shauna Beulah serves as Branch Manager of St. Michaels Library and David Fike is General Manager of the Star Democrat. Rita Hill, who owns and operates her own business as a Microsoft Office trainer/consultant, Gary Pearce, Executive Director of Talbot Partnership, and Chris Wyles, Manager of Talbot Country Club, are all currently mentors within the organization.
The new and continuing Board Members are eager to meet a strategic goal of building the mentor total, and thus the number of children served, to one hundred from its current level of about sixty over the next four years.
Eleven boys and girls are currently on the Talbot Mentors list waiting for mentors. Cook noted that the potential waiting list is much longer, limited only by the realistic prospect of recruiting new volunteers for them. The organization restricts the number of children who go on the list so that they are not waiting too long hoping to be matched with a mentor.
Cook described the target as challenging both in terms of recruiting enough mentors and supporting the relationships with enough staff in a climate where funding sources are increasingly strained. However, he emphasized that “it’s the children we serve who are most affected by the economic downturn. They need mentors more than ever.”
For more information, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mentor, call Talbot Mentors at 410-770-5999 or visit www.talbotmentors.org.