The MENTOR Network

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Charitable Foundation Selects Newest Community Champions

The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the three Community Champions for the fourth quarter of FY13. Nominated by their colleagues, these employees were chosen for their work with local non-profit organizations, where they donate their time and energy to improve quality of life for their neighbors.  The Champions’ chosen nonprofits will receive a $500 grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation. Going forward, three employees will be recognized as Community Partners each quarter of the fiscal year.

“These employees embody the Network spirit of community involvement,” said Bruce Nardella, President and Chief Operating Officer of The MENTOR Network. “They have selflessly given their time and talents to make others’ lives better and are doing their part to strengthen the communities in which they live and work. We and the individuals we serve are truly fortunate to have such caring, committed people on our team.”

Jessica Bollong, Admissions Coordinator, CareMeridian

Jessica volunteers her time at Clothing the Homeless, a grassroots nonprofit that provides clothing, toiletries and other items to homeless individuals in Irvine, California. Donated items help those who are served have the confidence and professional appearance needed to pursue employment. Jessica helps sort the donated clothing to ensure that only clean, quality items are distributed. She says she became involved with the ministry after college and chose it because she saw how her efforts could have a direct positive impact on someone else’s life.

“I grew up wanting to help people, and what I’m doing is actually helping,” Jessica said. “I’ve gotten the office involved. It’s something that your friends and family can be involved in. Everybody can collect clothing!”

Jennifer Johnson, H.R. Business Partner, REM Minnesota

Jennifer volunteers with Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors, which enriches the lives of seniors and people with disabilities of all ages through free fishing and boating trips. She became involved with the charity in 2002, after seeing an ad seeking volunteers. She realized it was an opportunity to combine her two loves, fishing and helping others. Over the years, she has seen the difference the program makes in people’s lives. One participant who had had a stroke months before spoke his first word on a fishing trip that Jennifer led. It’s experiences like this that keep her coming back.

“It’s the satisfaction you get from seeing their enjoyment and the fun they have,” she says. “Some of the people who come on our fishing trips haven’t been able to get out and do things like this, or they didn’t think they would be able to.”

Jed Donahue, Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, The MENTOR Network

Jed volunteers for X-Cel Adult Education in Boston, Massachusetts, which prepares low-income adults to pursue higher education through Pre-GED and GED, ESOL, college prep and computer classes in the Boston area. Jed has volunteered for X-Cel for three years, tutoring participants in math, which he says is a good fit with his math and accounting background. Because he has seen the impact it makes, he hopes to become more involved with the organization in the near future.

“It’s exciting to see the participants’ progress and graduate from the program,” Jed says. “We have a graduation ceremony every June. It’s a ceremony many of them never thought they’d have, so it’s exciting to be a part of. I’d like to help X-Cel continue to grow and thrive. It’s making a huge difference.”

Do you know someone who’s making a difference in their community?

The MENTOR Network is currently accepting nominations for Community Champions. Champions may be nominated by colleagues and supervisors. If you’d like to nominate someone, visit the Foundation’s Community Champions page on The MENTOR Network website and submit an application.

About The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation

The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is committed to transforming the delivery of human services through the generation of new ideas and best practices.  We seek to advance an agenda based on quality, accountability and respect for the individual.  The focus of our giving is on organizations that take a fresh look – through research, innovative thinking, direct care and programming – at how people with disabilities and youth and families facing emotional, behavioral and other challenges are cared for in our society.  The Foundation also works to expand opportunity for the people we serve through employment and educational support.