Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Celebrating 20 years of the SpringBoard Program making an IMPACT
 
 

 

Decades of dedication

For close to 20 years, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC) has been a partner extraordinaire at Spring Woods Middle School (SWMS).

As Spring Branch ISD celebrates the 20th anniversary of its SpringBoard Mentoring Program this school year, a special spotlight on the longevity of MDPC’s involvement as mentors in the middle school is something to celebrate and appreciate.

MDPC's remarkable commitment to student well-being is exemplified through the extensive mentoring hours that the church has dedicated to students throughout the years. Annually, during August and September, the church's volunteer coordinator, Susan Weinert, and her team diligently seek out new mentors to be paired with SWMS students while also welcoming back returning mentors, all as part of the church's IMPACT Mentoring program.

Making an IMPACT

IMPACT mentors from MDPC have been a strong foundation to the success of the SpringBoard Mentoring Program. This partnership boasts a consistently high level of mentor engagement within the district's program. Over the course of this academic year, approximately 70 mentors affiliated with MDPC have made weekly visits to their mentees at both middle and high schools. These visits take place during lunch periods, providing an opportunity for one-on-one conversations and a range of enjoyable activities.

These positive role models help their mentees feel more confident socializing and spending time in conversation with adults, which are important Core Characteristics to hone for T-2-4 and career successes. Also, having a listening ear in their corner is of comfort and reassuring to the students as they experience the highs and lows of friendships, family and educational situations.

 

 

Just showing up makes a difference

“One person can truly make a difference in these students lives,” said Wienert. “Sometimes relationships take time to develop, but by showing up every week [mentors] are impacting them.”

Weinert first got involved with the IMPACT program when her own children were in middle and high school. “I knew from my involvement with their campuses and the district that there was a need for mentors in our district,” she said.

After recruiting and training new MDPC mentors, SWMS mentor program coordinator, Dianna Cabrera, pairs them with sixth-grade students who have requested to be a part of the program. To facilitate strong connections, Cabrera assesses the interests and hobbies listed on the applications to create compatible matches.

Cabrera and Wienert organize a match party where the mentors and mentees meet each other for the first time. “The room is full of excited adults and students who want to get to know each other,” said Weinert. A great ambassador for the IMPACT program, Weinert currently is mentoring two students at SWMS, one in seventh grade and one in eighth grade. 

Cabrera enjoys supporting the mentor/mentee relationships as they develop. “I love to watch how a relationship between two individuals, with different backgrounds and in most cases huge age differences, blossom!” she said. 

It is not unusual to hear stories of mentors and mentees that began their relationship at SWMS and that they continue their relationships through high school graduation. “I’m greatly moved when I hear stories of mentor and mentee relationships that survive the hard times -- where the mentor has provided support through difficult family or school issues,” said Weinert.

“I want [the mentors] to know that the difference and the impact that 30 minutes a week makes on these kids is so rewarding,” added Cabrera.

Beyond mentoring

Over the years, the contributions of church members to the SWMS community have evolved beyond just mentoring. Currently, they facilitate a monthly food pantry at the school, provide students in need with school uniforms and backpacks, furnish SWMS households with household items, and extend their generosity by donating holiday gifts and clothing to families requiring assistance.

Several times each year, the church also organizes special teacher appreciation treats, which lets the staff know their work is valued.

The admiration is mutual: Spring Branch ISD is very grateful for the time and material goods MDPC so generously donates to students, families and staff at SWMS. Their provisions are a solid testament to the power of the district’s Core Values of Collective Greatness and Collaborative Spirit.

Thank you, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church!