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The Volunteer Tree: FTLA shines a spotlight on staff volunteers!Floura Teeter

Sara-menteeFTLA’s dedication to the community in which we live, work, and play extends well beyond our organizational initiatives, such as our Community Grows Here program. Many of our staff members are committed to improving our local community through personal, individual contributions. Every quarter we will acknowledge the work of one of our staff members and highlight the work they are doing in the community. First up is FTLA Marketing Coordinator,Sara Goins.

Sara is currently a volunteer mentor for the Living Classrooms Foundation’s Crossroads School. The Crossroads School is a public charter middle school serving Baltimore City students in grades 6-8 operated by Living Classrooms Foundation. As a volunteer mentor, Sara has committed to spending weekday lunches visiting her mentee every other Friday, October through the end of the school year. We interviewed Sara to find out more about her involvement in this program.

FTLA: Why did you choose to volunteer your time for the Crossroads Mentoring program?

SG: I was looking for a cause and organization I felt passionate about committing my time to. I believe young people are the key to creating and encouraging stronger community development. I admire the Living Classrooms Foundation’s mission; strengthen communities and inspire young people to achieve their potential. These are the keys to creating a stronger Baltimore. Additionally I have an inspiring mentor I look up to and I want to offer the same support to others.

FTLA: What do you find most rewarding about being a volunteer mentor at Crossroads?

SG: Just supporting my mentee and helping her ‘get through’ middle school, is what I find most rewarding about this experience. It’s also important to be a stable and constant presence in her life. She is such a smart, bright, and exuberant young girl, I enjoy coaching her to find what her special attributes are while maximizing her potential. Not being a native Baltimorean, I have learned so much about what an average Baltimore City student experiences during the middle school years. I am astounded by what is expected of them at such a young age. I think every middle school student deserves an outsider to help get through those important years.

FTLA: What is one thing you want people to know about the Crossroads Mentoring program?

SG: Crossroads, draws students from five East Baltimore elementary schools from primarily poverty stricken neighborhoods. It is an extraordinary school that maintains very high standards for its students. It is a “school of choice” meaning students, families, and teachers choose to be a part of the Crossroads community. The students at the school are also extraordinary. This past year, 100% of the school’s 8th grade students were accepted to private, citywide, and college preparatory high schools. For the 2014 – 2015 school year, the mentoring program drew 160 volunteers, meaning all 160 students were paired with a volunteer mentor. This is an amazing milestone for the mentoring program and my hope is that it will only continue to grow and strengthen.

To find out more about the Living Classrooms Foundation or The Crossroads School visit the Living Classrooms Foundation’s website.

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