The nugget. (Sisters, Or.) 1994-current, May 27, 2015, Page 21, Image 21

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015 The Nugget Newspaper, Sisters, Oregon
Luncheon raises funds to support mentoring program
By Jodi Schneider McNamee
Circle of Friends has been
evolving since their start in
2011, and on Wednesday, May
20, in their annual “fund- and
friend-raiser” luncheon, that
evolution continued. For the
first time, two of the young
friends from the mentoring
program attended the lun-
cheon with their friends/men-
tors and were introduced to
guests with a question/answer
roundup on stage.
Board members, commit-
tee members, mentors and
first-time folks who wanted
an introduction to the mentor-
ing program gathered together
for the event at The Belfry
to enjoy a free buffet-style
lunch that was sponsored by
Melvin’s Fir Street Market.
Executive Director Debbie
Newport explained to the
nearly 100 guests what Circle
of Friends is all about.
“We provide one-on-one
mentors for children in our
community who can ben-
efit from the presence of an
additional adult in their lives.
Typically we call these friend
relationships. A child and a
friend relationship begins
early in a child’s school
career such as kindergarten or
first grade and then Circle of
Friends continues to support
the children all the way until
they complete high school,”
Newport said. “It’s a constant
in the mentor’s lives to sup-
ply the guidance, support, and
advocacy as they grow from
child to adulthood, and it hap-
pens in the belief that this kind
of support increases the likeli-
hood of lifelong success.”
According to Board
President Marti Ayers they
are currently serving 22 chil-
dren and anticipate that within
a short period of time Circle
of Friends will be moving up
toward 30 children.
Circle of Friends founder
Duncan Campbell was on
hand as a special guest.
“I was asked to share
what is the reason this is a
passion of mine,” Campbell
said. “The first reason is an
emotional one; I was one of
these kids. I grew up with
parents that were alcoholics.
Another reason is that when I
worked in the juvenile court I
loved working with the kids.
I watched repeat offenders
over the years, and knew that
if they had had a friend they
wouldn’t have been there. The
third reason came about when
I hired a child psychiatrist to
do research to find out if my
lifelong dream to help these
children could become a real-
ity. We found out that there
is resilience in these children
even if they come from the
most challenging home, and
that‘s when I started Friends
of the Children in Portland
with children from my old
“Even though I live in
Portland part of the time, I feel
that Sisters is my community
and that’s why I started Circle
of Friends. We want to serve
every child in Sisters that
needs a friend.”
The activities that the
friends and children do
together are unique to the
child’s individual needs,
abilities, interests and talents.
Friends engage in activities
with the children that foster
social and emotional develop-
ment, making positive choices
and school success, as well as
nurture the child’s passions
and talents.
Near the conclusion of
the luncheon, board member
Craig Longfield introduced
two of the young friends,
Alexis Lajko, a second-grader
at Sisters Elementary School,
and fifth-grader Rowena
Lucas, to a room full of guests.
Beth Hanson, a mentor
who has been with Circle of
photo by Jodi schneider mcnamee
youngsters mentored in Circle of Friends spoke at an event last week.
Friends from its birth, initi-
ated a question-and-answer
round beginning with her
young friend Rowena while
mentor Kay Johnson and her
little friend Alexis sat close by.
“Rowena and I have been
matched since she was in first
grade, so it’s been four great
years, and Alexis and Kay have
been matched for two years,”
Hanson informed the guests.
“We are going to pass
around the microphone and
ask Alexis and Rowena what
they think about Circle of
Friends,” Hanson added.
“Rowena, what is one of
your favorite things about
having a mentor?” Hanson
asked her little friend, as she
handed the microphone to her.
“I like that you are always
there for me and you always
help me with problems I need
help with.”
“What is one of your favor-
ite things about having Kay as
your friend?” Hanson asked
“She spends her time with
me and helps me when I’m
Some of the guests were
moved to tears to be able to
witness for the first time how
the children feel about their
supportive mentors who spend
quality one-on-one time each
week providing their young
friends with a consistent