Broadening students’ experiences to give them expanded possibilities for their future is one of the goals of the Talbot Mentors program. Mentors often introduce their mentees to new activities that they might not otherwise have enjoyed.
To further that goal, Talbot Mentors sponsors summer camp attendance each year for its students, sometimes going the extra mile for those with particular interests. For mentee Jazmine Gibson, that will be about 650 extra miles.
With her interest in fashion and interior design, Jazmine, her mentor Merrilie Ford, and the Talbot Mentors staff found a summer seminar for teens at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia.
Jazmine submitted an application, including an essay composed in the shape of a dress with hat. That creative touch helped get her accepted and she is now nervously anticipating her trip in late June.
Ford described finding the school as “a lot of serendipity.” She thought of it for Jazmine while visiting a friend in Savannah and then kept running into people who had attended the college. Once she was accepted, Ford arranged for her friend and others to get in touch with Jazmine and her mother to help them both feel more comfortable about the 14-year-old traveling so far away.
Jazmine will be taking two classes and living on campus for the week, a new experience for her. “I’m excited…and scared,” she admits. Ford and Jazmine have been matched in the Talbot Mentors program for two years, each being previously paired with others. Talbot Mentors Executive Director, Nancy Andrew, once described them as “natural friends,” and they admit to hitting it off from the start. “I’m just as excited as she is about SCAD,” said Ford.
As her mentor and friend, Ford is going the extra mile herself by driving Jazmine down to Savannah for the seminar. More expensive than Talbot Mentors’ usual summer camp sponsorships, Ford’s help with the transportation is a “big, big plus,” according to Andrew.
A Summer Arts Scholarship from the Talbot County Arts Council will pay for part of the cost of the trip, with Talbot Mentors and Jazmine’s family funding the rest of the expense. Individual donations to the organization for Jazmine’s trip and the rest of the summer camp program are welcome.
This is just one of a wide variety of camp opportunities that Talbot Mentors provides for its students, including day, residential and special interest camps. Funding is provided by local organizations and private donors, along with some scholarships from the individual camps.
Last year, 26 mentees attended summer camps located from Easton to Alabama, often stimulating ideas for future college attendance and careers.
Jazmine anticipates liking SCAD so much that she will want to go to college there. An honor student at Easton High School, she would like to become a fashion designer, but also wants to take classes in other media to broaden her options.
For those at Talbot Mentors, seeing Jazmine have this opportunity is especially gratifying. In the program for more than five years, she has continually been one of the most active volunteers among the students, earning a Presidential Volunteer Service Award last year for her accumulated service learning hours.
“It gives us enormous pleasure to help Jazmine and all of our kids go to these camps and have such exciting experiences,” said Andrew.
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.