Thursday, November 29, 2012

One Great Night - Two Great Celebrations

More than 400 supporters and adult volunteers who mentor on Spring Branch ISD campuses met Nov. 1 at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside to celebrate 10 years of mentoring in the school district and seventh year of the Good Neighbor recognition program.

Highlighted during the annual dinner for its decade long commitment to SBISD students were Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church’s IMPACT mentoring program, founder Mary Card and MDPC’s leader, The Rev. Dave Peterson.

It is estimated that the church has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars towards student mentoring in Spring Branch schools during the past decade.

“Because of the generosity of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church,” Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman told the crowd, “the students, staff and communities of Spring Woods Middle School, Spring Woods High and Northbrook High have benefited in immeasurable ways.”

“Not only has MDPC been the foundation for our largest volunteer base – with about 150 (adult) mentors yearly at Spring Woods Middle School who then matriculate with their students through high school – but the church has generously provided well over a half million dollars in direct funding for mentoring over the past 10 years.”

Memorial Drive Presbyterian volunteers have funded a full-time mentor coordinator at the middle school, hosted three family banquets annually, provided holiday gifts for dozens of families, hosted community service days at the food pantry and hosted teacher appreciation events.

The church volunteers even helped change out the combinations on more than 1,100 student lockers one year to help get the new school year under way smoothly.

Community Relations Officer Buchman noted that the Rev. Peterson has led MDPC with “grace and wisdom,” and “because of your commitment, many blessings have been bestowed on the children and families of SBISD.” Mary Card, who is a retired district volunteer coordinator, started and then led the program to local, state and national recognition.

“There’s just no way to avoid thanking a person who has singularly recruited more than 600 volunteers in 10 years – nurtured them, mentored them and given so much of herself for the students at Spring Woods Middle. She has taught us all so much!”

For her work, Mary Card was presented with the Perfect Mentor Award. Both Mary and the Rev. Peterson also received framed, hand-tooled calligraphy works of art that describe their gifts to SBISD mentoring.

In a separate presentation, Spring Branch Education Foundation President Mike Rome accepted on behalf of the foundation recognition for mentoring program funding estimated at almost $200,000.

“We would not be reaching this 10-year milestone were it not for you,” Linda Buchman said. “In addition to being the founding partner and underwriter to launch our Good Neighbor program, the Spring Branch Education Foundation has been there annually for us since 2005, when we moved beyond Landrum, Northbrook and Spring Woods middle schools to take our SpringBoard program district wide.”

As a special tribute to the IMPACT mentoring program, students shared “lollipop moments” in speeches about themselves and their adult volunteers. Sharing stories on the Omni stage were:
Spring Woods High junior Byron Melgar and his mentor of six years, Ralph Wheeler
Houston Community College second-year student and Spring Woods High graduate Brian Adam Gray and his mentor, Joe Warren. The volunteer and student met weekly for five years beginning in Brian’s seventh-grade year.

University of Houston sophomore and 2011 Spring Woods High graduate Claudia Miranda, who was mentored by Lisa Lane beginning when Claudia was in sixth grade.

University of Texas at San Antonio student Robin Jacobs, who spoke by phone, and her mentor, Marguerite Baldwin, now in her 90s. Marguerite astonished the ballroom audience with her wit and wisdom about mentoring young people.

Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., noted that the work of adult mentors in SBISD is critical to support the district’s new five-year plan. That plan, also called T-2-4, calls for the district to double the number of Spring Branch graduates who go on to complete some form of technical, two-year or four-year course of post-secondary study or training.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Good Neighbor partners were honored at the dinner and recognition event. The groups include businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools and individuals.

The Good Neighbor designation is earned by individuals, groups and organizations that perform three or more activities from a program activity list that supports public education efforts across Spring Branch. Each year, these “good works” are documented through a proof of activity form.

Area dignitaries who attended the Good Neighbor event included Houston City Council Member Helena Brown and Zachary Hodges, Ed.D., who is leader of Houston Community College’s Northwest College.

The Memorial High School String Orchestra under the direction of Bingiee Shiu performed during the dinner. Student performers included Rebekah Kim, Kyle Loggenberg, Nick Kim, Edwin Park, and Tiffany Hu.

During a special video, several Good Neighbor partners were highlighted this year. They included the New Spring student art and business development center; the Notre Dame Club; district volunteer Kathy Goss; CenterPoint Energy; and Cinco Energy, among others.  Watch video spotlight now >>

Partnership and Volunteer Programs’ Sue Loudis coordinated the dinner and recognition event. For more information or to view the full list of 2012 Good Neighbors, please visit our website:


Videos 1-4 were filmed during the 2012 SBISD Good Neighbor Event / 10 Year Celebration of the SpringBoard Program in Spring Branch. 


Post a Comment

Do you have feedback? Tell us.