FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 1999
Contact: Diane Thomas
Reap Rewards and Kudos
(SANTA ANA) Students from Pio
Pico Elementary School in Santa Ana will walk from their
classrooms to the Board of Supervisors meeting on March
2. They plan to personally thank the 51 County employees
who have given up lunch hours for the last four months
to voluntarily mentor the students.
According to Judy Magsaysay, Pio Pico School principal,
the volunteers are credited with helping 80 percent of
those mentored move up two grade levels in the informal
reading indicator category.
"The interpersonal connection with a caring adult
is the one thing that makes all the difference for these
children," said Magsaysay. "The kids now seem
to carry themselves with more confidence. Their behavior
both in the classroom and on the playground improves with
that increased self-esteem, and they seem to become more
connected with their school and their community."
Once each week, the mentors spent 45 minutes going over
individualized lesson plans with their assigned students
helping them to improve their English skills in reading,
writing, spelling and speaking.
"There are magic moments when you mentor a child,"
said Patty Hunsicker, an employee working in CEO/Human
Resources. "For me, when I see the greatness of a
child coming through, I want to capitalize on that by
letting them know how unique and special they are. And
when you can see that the child is absorbing what youre
saying well I wouldn't trade that for a million
Charles V. Smith, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors,
brought the pilot mentoring program to the attention of
the Board last fall. As Supervisor of the First District,
which includes Santa Ana, Smith asked the Supervisors
to approve flexible lunch hours for those County employees
participating in the program.
"The mentoring program is a win-win situation,"
said Smith. "Working with professionals, the children
are introduced to the many possibilities available to
them. In turn, County workers have an opportunity to become
connected with the rich and diverse community they work
Pio Pico Elementary School, located in the center of one
of Santa Anas poorest neighborhoods, was the only
school in Orange County selected to receive a state mentoring