Mentors and their charges who have worked together since Sept. 13 have completed half of the six-month Youth Initiating Professional Preparedness in Employment program.
The 30 individuals, 15 students who are each paired with one adult mentor, have worked together weekly to achieve the program goals of job training, work experience, business and career development for the youth enrolled in the YIPPIE program. The mentors share their life experience, training and business skills in an effort to train the program’s participants.
The mentors, all local volunteers, were screened and attended a six-hour training program in preparation as charter members of the program. The adults were also asked to dedicate an additional three months to their youth partner, to provide continued support after their March 13 YIPPIE Academy graduation.
Here is a look at the 15 advisers who have volunteered their time to YIPPIE:
David Avery is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and currently works as a JROTC teacher at Fairfield High School. He shares his skills as a group dynamics instructor, negotiator and facilitator, and his interests in reading, hiking, pets and sports with his program apprentice.
Chris Edwards is a Fairfield resident whose love of weight lifting, fitness and nutrition have helped in his work as a mentor. He enjoys sports, fishing and board games, and believes that being a YIPPIE mentor enables him to give back to the community.
Debora J. Ferrero-Waite is a nonprofit consultant and has worked as an elementary school teacher, principal and district administrator for the Napa Valley School District. She shares her interests in connecting ideas, people and resources with her YIPPIE participant.
Grayland Hilt, a Vacaville resident and Equal Employment Opportunity director at Travis Air Force Base, enjoys reading spiritual books, spending time with his family, observing nature and meaningful conversation. He believes that support of local youth is critical to creating a better community.
Monte Hoover, who co-owns Gillespie’s Abbey Carpet and Floor, has lent support for many local youth organizations in the past. He is a Vacaville resident and now shares his enjoyment of socializing, networking, camping, hunting and fishing with the youth he mentors in the program.
Carmen Jones is a retired banker and lives in Fairfield. She has worked as a mentor for the Children’s Network and Children in Need of Hugs programs, and shares her vocational experience and love of sewing and traveling with her student.
Jackie King-Walton is a Vacaville social worker and married mother of four teenagers. As an experienced youth mentor, trainer and teacher, she is able to share her interests in gardening, sports and board games with her student.
Kathy Lawton, a graduate of Florida A&M University, works as housing manager for Suisun City. She has worked with low-income housing participants in the public and private sector since 1994, and understands the needs of the program’s disadvantaged youth.
Marilyn Manfredi serves on the Board of Directors of the Solano Community Foundation and is a representative of Medic Ambulance. She believes mentoring helps youth develop their potential. Her hobbies include golf, photography, yoga and music.
Danette Mitchell is freelance writer and opinion columnist in Vacaville. She shares her passion for writing, books and music in hopes to be of service to the program.
Michelle Quezada was a low-income youth who benefitted from mentors who helped her break from poverty. She now works as a benefits specialist in human resources for Partnership HealthPlan of California in Fairfield, and volunteered for the program so she can give back to the community.
Raymond Robinson is a finance specialist and married father of four. As a YIPPIE mentor, he works to introduce the group’s trainees to successful, professional people in the community.
Brandi Rogers hopes to guide youth toward successfully entering the workforce. She is the manager of the California Business Center in Fairfield and shares her interests of reading, softball and pets.
Tony Rosas is a Vacaville resident and a physical therapy aide for Body in Balance in Fairfield. He volunteered for the program because he believes there is an increasing need for youth mentors. His hobbies include travel, painting, photography, bike riding and swimming.
April Wooden is the Suisun City Community Development Department director. Her goal to spend more time as a volunteer has been met as she mentors youth in the program. She shares her love of ethnic and cultural events, architecture and hiking.
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