Local mentors, kids celebrated at ECHO Leahy Center

STARKSBORO — The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain hosted Community Science Night, a celebratory event for local adult-to-youth mentoring pairs from the Chittenden County Mentoring Network (CCMN) on Thursday, March 22. More than 200 adult mentors and youth mentees from 10 mentoring programs in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties attended the free event, which featured open exploration of the museum’s exhibits, a scavenger hunt and hands-on demonstrations led by the ECHO Environmental Leadership Team (known as the E-Team).
The event was sponsored by ECHO’s Open Door Program and Mobius, Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership, and participants received free pizza courtesy of Domino’s and cookies for dessert from Rhino Foods. The featured exhibit for the event was “My Sky,” a special exhibit featuring interactive activities related to the Sun, Moon and outer space.
A group of youth mentees and mentors from the Starksboro Mentoring Program travelled up to Burlington for the event, including Susan Klaiber and her mentee Isabella, a student from Robinson Elementary.
“ECHO was great!” said Klaiber. “Isabella loved it. On the way home she said she wished it was Thursday morning because then we would still be going to ECHO later that day, and she could have more pizza and three more cookies … which she quickly followed up with ‘and that would be six cookies!’”
The Starksboro Mentoring Program currently supports around 30 mentor matches, and is one of five mentoring programs in the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union. The other four programs include the Beeman Elementary Mentoring Program, Lincoln Mentors, Monkton Mentors, and the Mount Abraham Union Middle and High School Mentoring Program.
The E-Team, a group of freshmen and sophomore high school students from across Vermont, is celebrating its 11th year anniversary. Team members are guided by Noella Krakowski, Education Programs Coordinator at ECHO. Community Science Night featured the E-Team guiding mentors and mentees through the building with a designed scavenger hunt. They also invited guests to explore, create, and launch their own paper airplanes; showcased the Champlain Sea Tank; and challenged mentors and mentees to design a scribble bot to create their own art.
“The Community Science Night is the time for the E-team to take over the museum,” said Krakowski. “The E-Team gets to design the museum experience for the mentor-mentee pairs. It becomes their opportunity to put the skills they have been developing into practice. It is always great to see their progression through the year.”
The CCMN is a network of adult-to-youth mentoring programs in northwestern Vermont, supporting more than 900 mentor pairs. Mobius is a non-profit organization that provides support for nearly 140 mentoring program sites and the 2,300 mentor pairs they support across the state. For more information about mentoring programs in the CCMN, and throughout Vermont, visit mobiusmentors.org.

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