Mentees enthusiastic to unite with mentors for Mentees to Campus Day carnival

One hundred and fifty middle and elementary school students from eight Walla Walla schools are expected flock to campus for the annual Mentees to Campus Day this Friday, Feb. 19.

Senior Seth Bergeson, who has participated in the Whitman Mentor Program for two years, explained how excited his mentee was about the carnival.

“When I visited my mentee for the first time this fall after being abroad last spring, he immediately demanded where I had been and when we were going to the carnival,” Bergeson said.

Senior Enrica Maffucci, one of two interns for the Mentor Program, said one boy was looking forward to the carnival so much last year that he went even though he should have been sent home sick.

“[He] had a fever of 100 degrees and he didn’t tell the teacher because he didn’t want to miss the carnival,” said Maffucci.

The Mentor Program has planned a carnival that will take place tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. in the Reid Ballroom, following a meeting in Cordiner Hall.

The activities planned for the carnival include a bouncy castle, an electric basketball game, pin the tail on the donkey, mini golf, a cow-milking contest using a wooden cow, popcorn, face-painting, dress-up with photos and arts and crafts. A variety of Whitman groups, including Club Latino, the Cycling Team, the Whitman Christian Fellowship, Hillel-Shalom and various Greek organizations, have volunteered to run these booths.

“You never have a sense of the number of mentors because everyone is so dispersed. When everyone comes together, it’s impressive,” said the other Mentor Program intern, Molly Carroll.

In addition to the carnival, there will be new performances from Whitman clubs this year.

“We have performances from Schwa and Dance Team and that’s different [from last year] because in the past we had Juggling Club. It’s good for the kids to see talented people,” Carroll said, explaining that virtually all of the mentees are challenged socially, academically or behaviorally in school.

Maffucci agreed that the mentees often have some sort of challenge in their life.

“Mentees are students who their teacher or intervention specialist has picked out as needing special attention. This can be for a myriad of academic, social or behavioral reasons and each mentee’s experience is unique,” she said. “We match elementary and middle school at-risk students with a Whitman student to serve as a positive, consistent role model and friend.”

Sophomore Erin Drake has volunteered with the program for two semesters and really enjoys getting to know her third grade mentee, whom she visits every week.

“After we eat lunch we go out for recess. His favorite sport is football. He likes to let me win even though I suck at football: it’s really cute,” she said.

This will be the sixth year of running the carnival since the Whitman Mentor Program started in 1994.




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