Welcome to CU 1-to-1, Champaign/Urbana's school based mentoring program! Our mission is to positively impact the lives of Champaign-Urbana students by pairing them with adult mentors to provide support, encouragement, and guidance. Here you will find information about our program, events, how we are effecting positive change in the lives of our communities' children and how YOU can become a mentor and join the ranks of our amazing mentoring community!
YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE
IN THE LIFE
OF ONE CHILDTODAY
Each month we will be highlighting a mentor in the Champaign/Urbana school district. These are the faces of community members who are giving an hour of their time per week to meet, have fun, and make a positive impact on the lives of our children. We are so grateful for each of them and all they do---join the ranks of some awesome people who dare to "be the change".
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Ghandi
Name: Cris Vowels
Mentor at: Stratton Elementary, just moved from Wiley Elementary
Grade of Mentee: 4
Why is she mentor of the month?
Cris is a retired principal of Urbana Early Childhood School with a background in special education. Karen Carney, Cris' mentor coordinator at Wiley says, "She began mentoring at Wiley in Oct. 2021, and was a natural at drawing out her mentee, who was pretty shy initially. Cris quickly got to know her mentee's likes and dislikes. When she found out her mentee loved Frozen, Cris brought in Frozen games and puzzles from home and intrduced her to UNO Attack, which appealed to her mentee's love of surprises. When Cris went away for several weeks to visit her adult son in Colorado, she emailed me a note to read to her mentee along with photos of the mountains and her son's dog, so her mentee would know Cris was thinking of her. Cris is always thinking about how to give her mentee fun options while also giving her the ability to decide what they'll do that day. "
How long have you been mentoring? 1 year
What inspired you to mentor?
I believe that everyone needs at least one person, (hopefully more) to have fun with and trust. Having that person, or those people, can make the difference between feeling like things are lousy, or prett darn good. Or even just a bet better than it had been. It's not always easy to find that person, but the CU Mentoring Program helps make those connections and ensure resources are there to support them. I worked in the public school system and saw the difference a positive 1:1 interaction can make. I now have the time to do that with mentoring.
What is your favorite aspect of mentoring?
Moments when my mentee and I are both smiling and laughing about something we shared or are doing together. I look foward to it each week and hope to do so for a long time.
Why do you think others should mentor?
The more connected individuals are, the stronger our community will be. Sometimes a person doesn't know what they are missing until they're a part of it. It's a great way for someone who is unfamiliar with the current school environment to see what's happening. Listening to what a young person has to say about things and sharing stories can bring a different perspective to both the mentor and the mentee. Having one more positive person to connect with can make a tremendous difference. Be that person.
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