The Easton High School cafeteria was filled with mentors, students and family members at Talbot Mentors’ 13th Annual Celebration dinner on November 4. The event was made possible through the support of Talbot Bank, VFW Post 5118 in Easton, and American Legion Talbot Post 70. Students from the Easton High School Culinary Arts Program prepared and served the meal.
Executive Director Diana Trams welcomed all the participants, who had made the year a success for the Talbot Mentors program. “This is a night to celebrate our phenomenal volunteers,” she said, noting that the organization strives to make sure matches between mentors and students are long-lasting ones.
Commending the efforts of the Board of Directors, staff and the students’ family members, she emphasized that it is their efforts combined with those of the mentors that help create the longstanding relationships.
Those matches were recognized during the evening’s celebration, from the record twenty new matches this year to those that have lasted as long as nine years. Special recognition was given to those that had reached their five-year anniversaries.
Guest speaker for the evening was Gregory Jones, a retired Senior Vice President with State Farm Mutual Insurance Company. Introduced by Talbot Mentors President Don Cook, Jones offered his gratitude for the career mentoring that Cook had provided him, teaching Jones how to be successful.
Jones described his own experience mentoring a youngster and his pride at seeing “the light come on” in the boy. From being a D-minus student when they met, Jones was honored to attend the young man’s graduation from college as valedictorian ten years later.
He encouraged mentors and family members to have high expectations for the children. “No one rises to low expectations,” he said. “See things in kids they can’t see in themselves. Believe more in them than they believe in themselves.”
In a room filled with children, there was attentive silence as Jones described the drowning death of his best friend when he was eleven years old, despite Jones’ efforts to reach down and save him. Offering the tragedy to illustrate a lesson for the students in the audience, he said he had finally come to accept that the boy had died not because Jones had not reached down to help him, but because the boy had not reached up to help himself.
Jones emphasized that the children there were surrounded by mentors, family members and teachers who all were reaching down to help them, but the students all needed to reach up and take the hands that are offered to help them lead successful lives. “All you have to do is reach up,” he said, “because everybody else is reaching down to help you. If you do, your future is as bright as any star in the constellation.”
For more information, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mentor, call Talbot Mentors at 410-770-5999 or visitwww.talbotmentors.org.