The investment of time can pay huge dividends Texas Type
As any parent knows, helping get kids through “the awkward years” can be a daunting task. When children grow out of the blissful phase of childhood, they enter their pre-teen and teen transition into adulthood. That, of course, comes with social problems, body changes, temptations and some adult issues, even though they aren’t quite adults.
On Monday night at the Fredericksburg Independent School District board meeting, Fredericksburg Middle School Counselor Dawn Barron introduced a group of women trying to make that child-to-adult transition for girls a little more pleasant. Debra Hadsall, Kristi Knaupp-Beyer, Amy O’Neil and Sharon Joseph, all a part of the Women’s Financial Connection group, were some of 11 local women professionals who took time from their schedules every two weeks for a group mentor meeting.
Our Fredericksburg Academic Boosters and oneon-one mentoring programs are wonderful and those folks also take time to meet with students. But Barron said the need is so great, there aren’t enough one-on-one mentors to fill all the positions.
That brought about the FMS Lunch Bunch Mentoring Group. They began with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, but this year expanded to include freshmen girls.
The ladies mentioned above, along with Lupe Walle, Andrea Hoerster, Dede Sanchez, April Laird, Denise Usener, Jane Lehman and Sharon Wahrmund, form the group of professional women. High school counselor Brandy Holekamp also works with the group.
These women worked with 32 girls over the past school year at FMS and FHS. Their time helps young women confront the trials of growing up, and gives them confidence to face them in the right way.
Knaupp-Beyer said the group began in 2015 to educate girls, prevent teen pregnancy and give them other life skills. The mentors encouraged the girls to do their best, to graduate high school, have fun but make good life choices.
They focused on conflict resolution, leadership skills, communication, handling peer pressure and avoiding high-risk behavior. They used books from the Covey organization, like “Seven Habits for Highly Successful Teens” and “The Confidence Code for Girls.” They also gave them journals and challenged their own selves to journal, as well.
Mostly, though, they just talked with the girls and let the conversation lead where it would.
Debra Hadsall has been a driving force in the group, the board was told Monday. Hadsall said she learned three things with her interactions.
Just show up. Being there for 25 minutes for a child who may not get much attention at home can be life-changing. It’s quantity time, as well as quality time.
Be real. One young woman told Hadsall and the other women, “Thank you for showing me what’s real.” In an age of constant distractions, showing how to genuinely interact with others, show gratitude and manners is invaluable.
Get connected. One young woman Hadsall had worked with at another district is now in her 20s and is pursuing a criminal justice degree. She was inspired by her professional mentor, a woman who was a prosecuting attorney in her county.
And Barron said the need is there for boys, as well. She hopes community members will help start a similar mentoring group for our young men, too.
As Barron said, “This makes them feel important. It gives them that little extra encouragement that they may not get on a regular basis.”
Thanks to these financial professional women who all have servants’ hearts.
—kec—Kudos also go to the Parent-Teacher Association’s cookbook committee, which recently gave $47,000 to the district. Helen Usener and Laverne Boos told FISD trustees on Monday that the group had contributed close to $1 million to the district in the 103 years of its existence. Wow — that is a huge contribution!
Also, some of the cookbooks are still available at Pioneer Museum and other locations. The 1996 printing was the last edition and will likely be the last. These ladies’ example of giving to the school district is a wonderful example of community service. Thanks to all on that committee, both present and past.