Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank you for being a mentor! Julie Eisenhauer

Moving the Walls Out to Bigger Places - Julie Eisenhauer

A desire to continue follow students’ growth and progress from year to year is what inspired Julie Eisenhauer to become a mentor following her retirement from 37 years of teaching in SBISD. She currently has the pleasure of mentoring two young girls: Jasmine, a fourth grader at Hollibrook Elementary and Cyndia, an eighth grader at Northbrook Middle School.

Jasmine stated that she looks forward to visiting each week with Ms. Julie because, “She teaches me more words in English and we have fun.” One of the fun things they have done this year is learn to play Monopoly. Jasmine even requested and received a Monopoly game for Christmas!  They also draw together and do some craft projects.

Ms. Eisenhauer notes that she just loves being with children and likes to help them “move the walls out” from their own environments by expanding their world views. As the mentor partner coordinator for a large group of mentors from Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, she keeps the mentor room at Hollibrook Elementary stocked with a wide variety of activities for the mentors and mentees to do together, and she has a world map posted on the wall to foster conversations about places and possibilities beyond Houston. She also plans holiday parties and field trips for the mentors and mentees.

Jasmine explained she wanted to have a mentor to see if it would be fun or boring, and definitely finds Ms. Julie not boring! In fact, the word Jasmine uses to best describe her mentor is “creative.” Ms. Eisenhauer chose the word “receptive” to represent Jasmine’s willingness to learn and try new things. They both look forward to a long term relationship, and nothing would please Ms. Eisenhauer more than to help Jasmine realize her dream of becoming a doctor.

At Northbrook Middle School, Ms. Eisenhauer visits Cyndia on a weekly basis. They have been together for five years, and enjoy talking together, which Cyndia finds helpful for “helping her with grades and solving problems.” This year, they have added discussions about their favorite books to the mix. Cyndia is trying to convince Ms. Eisenhauer to try a scary mystery book by her favorite author, Margaret Peterson Haddix, but Ms. Eisenhauer isn’t so sure about the scary part!

Some of Cyndia’s friends also have mentors, and they enjoy the opportunities, provided by mentor coordinator Minga Herrera-Fernandez at Northbrook Middle School, when several mentors and mentees get together for holiday celebrations, games and conversations.

Ms. Eisenhauer noted their conversations have improved Cyndia’s English conversation skills tremendously over the years. Cyndia says her family has noticed that having a mentor has “changed me for good.” She is a top student, usually making straight A’s, and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. When they first met, Ms. Eisenhauer said her mentee said she wanted to be a mom when she grew up, but now through some opportunities to explore other career options (including an eye-opening visit to The Guthrie Center), she sees many other possibilities are available. As of today, Cyndia has her sights set on being a lawyer.

When Cyndia moves to high school next year, her “good friend” and mentor, “Ms. Julie,” will encourage her to continue to excel, be involved in many interests like Choir, and maintain her good grades, so her opportunities for success after high school will also flourish. Ms. Eisenhauer hopes Cyndia’s strengthened language skills will empower her to be inquisitive, and seek assistance and solutions to any obstacles that may come along.

Ms. Eisenhauer’s ‘can-do’ spirit and willingness to support the achievements of her mentees will serve as inspirations for Jasmine and Cyndia to reach for the stars, and “achieve more than they think possible.”

SBISD will be sharing the stories of outstanding leaders in our community who take on the role of mentor.  Look for this feature and make sure to thank someone in your life who listens, takes time to care, and supports you! When we work together...anything is possible.

For information on being a mentor, or volunteering in Spring Branch ISD, visit the Community Relations section of the SBISD website.  Click here to read more about our mentoring programs.


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