Improving the quality of more than just our clients’ lives…
Ken Gillaspie Legacy Fund
Composing Meaningful Conversations
about Money and life.
High School Mentor Program – A Perspective
Advisor Stacy Rerick says she receives as much as she gives through participation in a local high school mentoring program. Stacy’s fellow mentors have varying backgrounds and influence in the community. The collective goal is to create a safe, compassionate environment where everyone at the table feels they belong and have a voice.
The meetings commence with a light conversation starter (If you could only have one for the rest of your life…would you choose salt or pepper? Why?). Then the group recites a “Pledge of Success” which reminds them they are in control of their life and choices they make on a daily basis, regardless of situation or current challenges.
Every meeting has a theme, which is discussed in small groups, with mentors providing insight and facilitating conversations. The group works on life skills, such as communication, the power of first impressions, networking, manners, respect and perseverance. This is where personal and emotional conversations surface about current events in a student’s life, or challenges they face.
Stacy has been amazed by the changes she has seen in the students in such a short time both academically and emotionally, and is inspired by the trust they place in the mentors. “I absolutely love and look forward to participating in this program each month. These students have an amazing amount of perseverance and appreciate having someone to bounce ideas off and celebrate wins with. We are brainstorming ways in which this program can be expanded to provide greater impact.”
It is that compassion, drive, level of success and desire to help others that led the high school mentoring program’s leader to ask Stacy to be involved with the group. “Stacy is a tremendous person and leader, she epitomizes the concept of success; she sets goals, is well balanced, organized, and driven, but is also extremely compassionate and I wanted to bring her to the table.”
Overall, the program has been a huge success, as measured by academic improvements (from failing grades to graduating), social interactions and attitude. It is particularly moving to hear the impact of the program on graduating seniors. Many of them shared their stories (from gang involvement to drug and alcohol addiction) and expressed their gratitude for the program. In their words, this is a place where they “belonged to a group”, were proud to wear the signature polo shirt, where they “celebrated wins” together. Stacy feels honored to participate in such a great program.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~School names, leadership roles have been purposely omitted to ensure confidentiality of youth
Advocating Across Generations
Through his work with Boy Scouts of America, Portland Community College (PCC) Foundation, and Western Seminary, advisor Ron Wilkinson focuses on the next generation, as well as their adult counterparts, by integrating his values of education, life planning, and leading a positive spiritual life.
Serving in fundraising, committee, and ground level support roles in all organizations, Ron feels leadership training, life skills, personal management, and the overarching message of teaching youth and emerging adults to live a positive life are key reasons for his involvement.
“I believe an educated community is an economically viable one. A spiritually trained community has personal positive transformation at its core and the programs I am involved with open young adults and adults eyes to possibilities, and prepares them, gives second chances, – and sometimes, first chances – at education and hope. These venues allow me the opportunity to be their advocate.”
“When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Mosiah 2:17
Time and Money– Tools for Furthering Honorable Values
Evan Russell contributes both his time and money to a number of organizations with causes close to his heart including Boy Scouts of America, http://www.scouting.org/ Tualatin River Keepers, http://www.tualatinriverkeepers.org/ and Friends of Bull Mountain, to name a few. Evan also is a Senior Mentor for emerging planners through the Portland and SW Washington Chapter of the Financial Planning Association http://www.fpanet.org/. Evan feels his time and financial contributions help maintain successful programs that have a direct impact on children and families values.
Evan is very active in his church, pays a full tithe, and serves as Public Affairs Co-director for a group of nine congregations. Evan and his wife Julie Russell, BS, MA, MFT are writing a money/marriage and family therapy manuscript with hopes of a 2015 publication date. The book deals with “men are from numbers and women are from feelings” methodology. Their hope is to positively affect lives in a much broader arena.
“Giving allows me to practice doing what Jesus would do. It connects me to those I serve, and gives me a type of satisfaction that self-interest can never offer.”