Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 Elizabeth Fellows Year in Review!

                        Fellows at Special Blessing's "One Magical Christmas" 

2015 was a big year for the Elizabeth Edwards Foundation.  We welcomed 11 new sophomores into the fellows program for a grand total of 27 Elizabeth fellows.  This is the biggest group of fellows to date!  Additionally, the inaugural class, who started the program back in 2012, graduated high school in May, and 6 fellows entered college in the fall.  We also welcomed back 6 volunteer mentors from the 2014-15 school year, and recruited 18 new mentors, for a total of 24 wonderful mentors who support the fellows in the program.  Finally, in the past year, we completed 65 program hours engaging in activities and discussions around life skills, college prep, and academic development, visited 7 different colleges in North Carolina, and engaged in 75 hours of community service throughout the Triangle. 

We have accomplished a lot this year.  Through all the ups and downs, joys and challenges, what stands out are our experiences together.   Just like Elizabeth Edwards believed in the power of people to support each other and to lift each other up, so the Elizabeth Fellows program stands as a community of students, mentors, and families who help one another, provide each other with new opportunities, and help fellows discover their passions, and reach their goals.

We asked fellows and mentors, “What has been your favorite memory of the program this year?”     

Elijah Prattis (sophomore fellow)                                                                                                        

“I really liked when we went to the Interfaith Food Shuttle Teaching Farm.  I like hands- on activities that help other people.  I also liked leading the goats to their barn.  When all the girls said no, I stepped up to do it.  It was fun.”

                         Feeding goats at the Interfaith Teaching Farm 

Deja Tomlinson (sophomore fellow)                                                                                                   

“The thing I most enjoyed about the program is having a mentor, because my mentor is awesome. Also, we did a lot of cool service projects. My most memorable would have to be the Boo Bash service project.   It was really fun!” 

                                      Deja and her mentor Ali at Boo Bash 

Regina D’Auria (mentor to senior fellow, Ahyanna Griffith)                                  

“Something I really value and appreciate about the program is how I am given the gift of getting to know such awesome high school students who are motivated to succeed! These teenagers are passionate, hardworking, and committed individuals that truly act as role models to their peers. In the short time that I've been a part of this program, I've seen this leadership not only in my own mentee, but also at the events I've attended with her cohorts. This is such a unique program that gives benefits to both the mentor and mentee relationship. I am thankful to be a part of this program heading into the New Year!!” 

Mercedes Stephens (senior fellow)                                                                                                        

“I loved going to Washington D.C. I really enjoyed visiting the Capitol, going on the paddle boats, and watching Shear Madness. Oh, and the restaurants were great. Especially Merzi!”

                                           Fellows at the White House

Kadiejatu Johnson (junior fellow)                                                                                    

“Volunteering at the International Festival.  We were helping out and meeting other fellows.  It’s always fun.  Now I am friends with those fellows and they always ask me if I’m going to other service projects.” 

                            Fellows at the Raleigh International Festival 

Amy Waters (mentor to junior fellow, Amena Mohammadi)                                                             

“Amena has gone through a big change this year by moving and switching schools.  She is so pleased to be able to continue to participate in this program.  I have been so impressed with her ease and maturity in dealing with this transition.  Besides the move I am in general excited by the confidence she now possesses.” 

Ty’Shae’ Cousar (senior fellow)

“Going to SkyZone was fun.  I loved being around the other fellows in different grades.  I also really enjoyed visited colleges like ECU and NC A&T, because it gave me a feel of where I wanted to go to college.”

                                                 Fellows on ECU Tour

Stephany Mejia (mentor to sophomore fellow, Jénaŷa Smith)                                              

“Walking through the Art Museum and seeing Jénaŷa enjoy the art work, and take her time to take in the meaning and significance of each piece is one of the memories I cherish the most.  Our appreciation for art, music, and film are huge similarities which we share. It is important to see the connections that the arts bring to our lives!”

Juan Reyes Ortiz (junior fellow)

“Going to visit Wake Tech, NC State, and Duke with my mentor, German.  I wouldn’t of thought of the idea of visiting or had the time to go without him.  I’m glad he took me because I found out a lot of useful information.”    ioject.  would have to be the b

                                                     Juan at Duke 

Marcy Bullock (mentor to junior fellow, Samantha Messie)                                                               
“I really enjoyed the fun 30 Day Challenge Celebration and the cookies and T-shirts!”

                                         30 day challenge at NC State 

Louis Duke (mentor to junior fellows, Cristian Tompkins)

“When I look back over my first semester mentoring through the program, I'm struck by how full of surprises the experience has been. What you think you're getting when you sign up to mentor a teenager is really not at all what you get. It's so much more."

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