Lynn Mullen, a volunteer with Colorado Senior Connections, received a Senior Hero award last Friday from the Jefferson County Council on Aging and Seniors’ Resource Center. Below is the nomination that Alison Joucovsky, Colorado Senior Connections coordinator, submitted:
I met Lynn over two years ago and she has been instrumental in helping to create and implement a new life coaching program at Jefferson High School. Lynn is a retired school social worker and works part-time as a teacher for the Adams 12 School District. She has a love and passion for working with high school kids whose lives are made more complicated by poverty, lack of parent involvement, and life circumstances. Her passion is contagious.
Lynn and I met with Robert, the school social worker at Jefferson High and she asked him, “How can we help?” He thought a mentoring program that pairs senior volunteer life coaches with the kids who were most at-risk could be a way to help support and reach out to these kids. Lynn jumped right in. She has been actively engaged in working to make this program a success. She has used her extraordinary gift of understanding these kids to not only be a life coach mentor, but she has also helped to develop and teach trainings to the other volunteers on a regular basis so that they can improve their skills as life coaches.She currently has a group of four students who she meets with on a weekly basis. These kids have found not only a mentor, but a friend in Lynn. She is there for them, calling them on vacation days and checking in. She always brings them special treats to celebrate their successes. Her kids have gone from failing grades to passing all of their classes. Lynn has also helped these kids to realize that they have greater potential than they realize. She has taken them to look at community colleges and shown them opportunities they did not even know existed.
Because of the success of this program, we received funding to participate in several trainings. Lynn has attended all of the trainings and will be actively involved this summer in helping to create and write a curriculum to support and expand the life coach program to a five day per week classroom model. Lynn will teach the volunteers about group skills, understanding and working with inner city youth, and will provide ongoing trainings and support to the other life coaches.
Lynn is passionate in her belief that older adults need to use their gifts to give back to today’s youth. She believes that it takes the whole community to make a difference in one child’s life and that it is the responsibility of seniors to use their skills to make a difference. She will tell you that not only do the kids get the support they so desperately need, but the volunteers get even more in return.
Congratulations to Lynn on this well-deserved achievement!
More volunteers like Lynn are needed to be part of this life coach program. Volunteers will develop and implement a character education curriculum as part of an exciting pilot project and will meet with students weekly through the school year. Training will be provided prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year. This is a great way to make a difference in the lives of kids who need your support the most! For more information, please contact Nancy Benyamin, Jewish Family Service director of volunteer services, at 720.248.4642.
-Alaina Green and Kari Alpen, JFS Marketing Department