According to Just Say YES Board Member Ryan O’Dwyer,
“As a board member and youth advocate, my wife Jenny [O’Dwyer]and I have proudly supported and served Just Say YES for over six years.
“At the top of the Just Say YES wish list is to partner with a generous individual or business willing to sponsor our Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Graduation held later this spring. The $8,000 Sponsorship we are seeking will help fund the complete implementation of the graduation event, which includes the following costs: venue rental, catering (lunch, cake and beverages for guests), décor and printed materials (balloons, signage, programs, certificates) and senior gifts.
“We are excited to announce the support of the Junior League of Dallas for selecting the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Graduation as a provisional project this year. Volunteers through the League will help support the preparation and production of the event. We are grateful for their servant hearts and the time and dedication it will take to execute!
“The missing puzzle piece is a Sponsorship to make this milestone a memorable event for over 250 Dallas-Fort Worth students.
“About the Mentor Graduation Event
“Each May, we proudly roll out the red carpet in celebration of our student mentor and mentees completing the Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program.
“Our student mentors and mentees are amazing teens with powerful stories of overcoming adversity. For many of them, the Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program is the highlight of their day, and is the only extra-curricular activity they have ever participated in. Many of them have also never received an award or acknowledgment of achievement. The purpose of the graduation is to honor these students who have participated and completed the program, giving them a positive experience of being recognized and celebrated for their success.
“Parents, guardians, loved ones, campus leadership and Just Say YES supporters are invited to cheer on each student mentor and mentee as they walk across the stage to receive their well-deserved Certificate of Completion for the mentoring program. Over 130 hours are invested in each student each year (approx. 250 students) throughout 26 sessions. The event consists of a heartfelt ceremony reflecting on memories and milestones from the program, as well as a student talent showcase, graduating senior recognition and a delicious meal for all guests.
“The Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program
“The Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program is an entirely unique approach from any other mentoring structure found in today’s public schools. The program is primarily implemented at urban or inner-city high schools within the Dallas-Fort Worth area, providing social-emotional learning opportunities to students that will positively impact their attitude, academics and behavior.
“The program consists of high school upperclassmen mentor incoming at-risk freshmen. Student mentors become equipped with leadership skills through weekly meetings with a Just Say YES Mentor Coordinator, who serves as an adult trainer and facilitator. The Mentor Coordinator and student mentors meet again within the same week, this time with the freshmen mentees, to facilitate team building activities, build supportive relationships, participate in community service projects and focus on skills necessary for setting positive futures in motion.
“Former Just Say YES Student Mentor Dre was selected by his school’s administrators to join the Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program his freshman year because of at-risk behavior. He says of the program, ‘My life was different before the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program because I was in a lot of pain. I was always getting in bad situations and fights. People always told me I would be nothing in life and that I was going to end up being just like my father. I promised myself I wasn’t going to be like him. The Just Say YES mentoring program has kept me out of a lot of trouble. My life moving forward, the program is going to help me a lot, because it has already changed who I am; it’s permanent now.’
“Will You Sponsor This Important Milestone for Students?
This giving season, we ask you or your place of business to please consider sponsoring the Just Say YES Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Graduation. Your generous contribution will make this important milestone a memorable event for over 250 students in our community. On behalf of the students and schools we serve, please know what significant impact you make by supporting Just Say YES.
For more information, or to sponsor the Graduation event, please contact Just Say YES Director of Development Sarah Conner at [email protected] or 972.437.0002. You may also visit our website at www.justsayyes.org to learn more about the Just Say YES mission.
* Graphic/photo provided by Just Say YES