Friends First Match Newsletter Early Winter 2012


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Friends First Match Newsletter Early Winter 2012

  1. 1. F R I E N D S F I R S T Winter 2012SPOTLIGHT ON… to play pool, darts, and how to use fitness equipment. In return, Daniel has taught Jim about sports, including how Daniel & Jim to be a good soccer player. Jim J. and Daniel B. have The mentoring relationship has also been a positive now been matched for two experience for Daniel because he has learned a lot about years. During this time, life in general. This is why he said he would recommend Jim and Daniel have been the program to anyone. “Friends First mentors are able to establish a strong someone to have fun with, talk to, and learn from.” friendship as they share their interests with one One of the other things Daniel has learned from Jim is another. One interest they the importance of being respectful and caring with have in common is their others. Daniel has realized that having respect for others excitement for staying is important because it allows you to get along well with active. Daniel really looks others. He also stated that the majority of conflicts forward to his outings with happen because someone says something disrespectful Jim especially when they and then the other person says something hurtful in visit a fitness center in return.Northbrook. Both Jim and Daniel get an opportunity tostay active but they also talk about their week. Daniel believes that respect and trust go hand in hand. “If you don’t trust a person it can be hard to showEven though visiting the fitness center is a lot of fun, respect. Or if someone doesn’t show you respect it isDaniel truly enjoys all the outings he and Jim have done. hard to trust him or her.” Daniel also strongly believesDaniel describes his match with Jim as, “really that respect isn’t given freely. “If you want others tointeresting and fun.” They have visited different places respect you, you have to respect others in return”.throughout the city, attended several Friends First events,watched a few documentaries, and attended at least one Both Jim and Daniel attended the Friends First campinggame of each of the Chicago sports team. This made it trip this past summer. Daniel stated that this outingdifficult for Daniel to pick a favorite outing but after stands out as a learning experience. He stated that gettingnarrowing it down to the top three, Daniel was able to away from the city was nice but what he appreciatedstate that his favorite outing was going to the Chicago most was getting to bond more with Jim and otherBears’ home opener. It was a lot of fun not only to see the matches. Daniel said that he learned a lot from the teamplayers up close but also to see them win on their home building activities and had a lot of fun playing the Trustfield! Fall game with others.When asking Daniel about his match, Daniel spoke of Jim It was during this outing that Daniel feltwith high regard. He stated that over the past two years, a stronger connection to his mentor andJim has been a great friend and has helped him a lot. developed a deeper appreciation forDaniel stated that Jim has given him a lot of support and respect and trust. Since the campingadvice on school. He also appreciates that Jim has been a trip, both Jim and Daniel continue togood listener and is nonjudgmental when Daniel is feeling enhance their sense of trust and respectupset and needs someone to talk with. and continue to strive to build more assets. ~ YaresiParticipating in Friends First has been a positiveexperience for both Daniel and Jim because they have Friends First is a program of Mercy Home for Boys & Girlslearned a lot from one another. Jim has taught Daniel how
  2. 2. Thoughts on respect… Welcome New Matches!Remember to give thanks to those who bring joy to your life. We are pleased to welcome these newEnjoy the unique talents that each person expresses. matches and wish them all the best as they start an exciting year together:See the beauty within the people you meet each day. Elvira G. & Makayla H……...9/13Plant positive thoughts in the hearts of others. Paul T. & Joel V……….……..9/19 Gwen F. & Yuliza R………….9/29Engage life to the fullest extent of your abilities. Dan R. & Damani W………..10/29 Russ C. & Jordan W………..10/29Care about those less fortunate. Jessica L. Marleni H………...10/29 John B. & Jayquan M….…...11/14Take the time to tell someone you care. Alice C. & Sahara B………...11/19 Katie B. & Noro J…………...11/19 David C. & Edgar S….……...11/22~ Diane Venzera Sonja T. & Nayeli S………...11/22 Duty, Honor, Country, Respect... Junior was matched with Ken in the Friends First program over ten years ago. At the time, Junior’s family was having a difficult time making ends meet and Ken was newly married and trying to build a life and start a new family. They started the match doing what most mentors do with their mentees in the Friends First Program. They loved to play sports, visit the shore, take trips to the museums, and just hang out and share stories. As the match matured, Ken spent more time encouraging Junior to do his best in school and encouraged him to avoid the troubles lurking in the neighborhood. Like most teenagers, Junior had his own ideas and sometimes would test Ken. Ken always displayed a consistency that made Junior feel more at ease. In many subtle ways, he encouraged Junior to always maintain a level of respect for others. He taught him to be polite and shared his experiences of his life with his family and work. Junior had to move several times over the life of the matchrelationship. Even though the distance was sometimes great, Ken went out of his way to visit Junior on aregular basis. They began to build a level of respect for one another, and even though Junior went throughsome difficult moments in school and at home, they never wavered in their ability to stay in contact.Junior is now in Afghanistan, serving our country in the United States Army. Guess what? Ken continues tokeep in contact with Junior. He is not able to meet on the weekends and now has to concentrate on the twosmall children he is raising with his wife. But the bonds that they built during the match have not diminished.A West Point cadet is given the motto that there are three virtues a soldier must maintain. They must believein and live by the virtues of duty, honor, and country. Ken and Junior believe that there is one more virtue thatthey both learned during their match: they both have a great deal of respect for one another. ~ Br. Paul McDonough
  3. 3. Remembering as an Act of Respect: Remembering the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a deep understanding of respect. He wanted people to respect one another regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they have. King also hoped that we would learn to respect one another by practicing nonviolence, opposing war and granting safe working conditions for everyone. Dr. King is remembered on the third Monday of each January, near his birthday, for his leadership in bringing attention to inequalities existing in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, was the first national holiday created to honor a black man. King set an example of peaceful struggle, faith and courage that helped fuel and inspire many people working for equality during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The 14thAmendment gave black people citizenship and the 15th Amendment gave them the right to vote. After a history of slav-ery which existed before the founding of our country, these changes did not automatically grant equality to black citizens.Fear fueled people’s prejudice and laws were passed to keep black and white people apart. “Separate but equal” schools,pools, bathrooms, water fountains and community centers kept our country segregated.Even though black and white people were both citizens under the law, their paths at home, work and in their neighbor-hoods rarely crossed. Additionally, these “separate but equal” places turned out to not be equal at all. Because of this,the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that blacks and whites could go to the same schools, saying that "separate but equal"schools were unequal. Many people at the time disagreed and did not want to change.Some people, however, did want things to change. Their desire for change turned into actions, marches and protestsagainst inequality. People, black and white, spoke up in small and large ways during the Civil Rights movement. Somewere arrested for their beliefs; others refused to let other people tell them where they could send their children for schoolor who they could have as friends. Some, like King, were even killed for speaking up and taking action.We can remember Dr. King by learning about his life and his dream for equality. We can also remember him each day inthe actions we take to promote equality and justice in our own lives at home, school and in our neighborhoods. Dr. Kingwas a strong voice among many in history who have spoken against inequality and oppression. We can add our ownvoices, dreams and courage to continuing his work. By doing so, we show respect for others and ourselves and honor thelegacy of those, like Dr. King, who have made sacrifices for equality. By taking action, we become part of the solutionand part of the Dream. ~Amanda Sneed Ideas for Remembering and Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Day  Educate yourself on the life and work of Dr. King by browsing resources on The King Center website: http:/  Participate in a volunteer project with the MLK Day of Service on January 16 th. Go to to learn about service project opportunities. For specific Chicago Day of Service events, visit:  Join the Community Renewal Society’s MLK Day Faith in Action Assembly on Jan. 16 th at Kingdom Baptist Church, 301 North Center Ave. from 9:30-12 for a prayer service honoring Dr. King’s legacy. You will also have the opportunity to meet with decision makers about issues in education, affordable housing and jobs for ex-offenders. For more information, visit:  Listen to or read one of King’s speeches or letters with your mentor. Start with King’s “I Have a Dream” speech ( or “Letter from a Birmingham Jail ( Discuss your reactions to his words together.  Reflect with your mentor or family on how life was for black citizens when they were growing up. Ask adults you know who were alive at different times during the last century. Has anything changed since then? Is there anything that has not changed?  With your mentor, write your own “I Have a Dream” speech about each of your dreams for the world. Share your speeches with one another when you are finished.  Learn more about MLK Day events happening in Chicago: martin-luther-king-jr/  Create your own service project to honor Dr. King. Talk with you mentor and MSR for ideas. ~Amanda Sneed
  4. 4. Happy Anniversary!January February MarchSusan K. & Anika R…….1/08 Rebecca R. & Shirley W...2/15 Kyle S. & Christian G…..3/04Leticia H. & Jada K……..1/09 Pat P. & Ashley D……….2/22 Anthony W. & TyJuan S..3/16Kim J. & Joshua D……...1/10 Tom E. & Jacob B…….....2/23 David S. & Rico C……….3/27Matt H. & Armon P……..1/21Kayla M. & Alicia Z….....1/27John D. & Curtis H……...1/31 “When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become.” ~ Louis PasteurWays to Build Respect By Dr. Michele BorbaThere are many ways people show respect to others, and the more aware that students are of what those actions look andsound like, the more likely they are to incorporate those behaviors in their daily lives. Look up the definition of respect. Write it down. Now describe ways you have acted respectfully or disrespectfully this week. Make a list of people you think are respectful and why you added them to your list. Work alone or with a partner to create a song, a rap, or a chant about respect. Your words should tell why respect is important and how it could make the world a better place. List five ways we could show greater respect for our environment. What would you do if an adult was disrespectful to you? Suppose the grown-up yelled at you for something you didn’t do. What do you say? What do you do? Describe your answer in 50 words. Design a bumper sticker about respect. Include on the bumper sticker: the word Respect, a motor or slogan for why you should use it and at least three words that describe it. Suppose you’re invited to your friend’s home for a family dinner. What are some ways you could show respect and courtesy when your first arrive? At their table? When you leave? Write at least 50 words. Cut a long strip of butcher paper 3 x 36” (or use adding machine tape). Roll each of the ends around a pencil and tape the ends to the pencil. Use crayons, colored pencils or ink pens to draw a scene of what respect looks and sounds like in action. Make a campaign poster about respect. Make sure you include the word “Respect” and two reasons why someone would want to vote for having respect at your school. You could use construction paper, felt pens, crayons, magazine cut-outs and templates. Look up the word “respect” in a dictionary. Find at least 10 different words that mean almost the same thing as “respectful.” These words are called synonyms. Write each synonym on a paper strip. Link your paper strips together to make a chain and staple the ends of each link. Use glue to write on bright-colored paper a few statements that respectful people would say to put a smile on someone else’s face. Now carefully sprinkle the letters with glitter. You’ve made Sparkle Statements! Read about John Muir. How did he show respect to the environment? Cut out a newspaper or magazine article about a person who showed respect. What did they do to demonstrate respect? Write a commercial about respect. Try to sell respect so others will want to start using it. For instance, say something positive that might happen in the world if more people showed respect to one another. Create a recipe for respect. What ingredients do you need?
  5. 5. decorating, musical chairs, Wii and a “photo booth.”Friends First Updates Matches made holiday cards for themselves and to send to the residents of Deborah’s Place women’s shelter.RespectRespect does not fall into just one asset category in TheSearch Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. Likely, you Friends First Newscould argue that it falls into all of them. What makes Mercy Home for Boys and Girls will celebrate 125respect unique from all of other things that we strive to years of helping Chicago area youth in 2012. Friendsinstill in our youth, is that respect is both Internal andExternal as opposed to one or the other. Self respect and First will celebrate its 25th anniversary! To celebraterespect for others will lead youth to develop both their these exciting milestones, Friends First is launching apersonal and social character. challenge to all of our matches. Our current match commitment is for mentors and mentees to meet 8Friends First Fun! hours each month, totaling 96 hours per year. OurOn Saturday, August 27th, nearly 100 mentors, mentees challenge: To see how many matches can meet 125and their families and volunteers attended the Friends First hours this year, which is just over 10 hours eachannual picnic. A wonderful mix of matches—both new month…details to follow.and veteran—enjoyed activities including corn hole, awater balloon toss, face painting, bozo buckets and a Friends First Tidbitsfierce three-legged race. Grilled burgers and hot dogs “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me.”were served for all to enjoy. School supplies, courtesy ofCentro, were distributed to all of our mentees as well as Aretha Franklintheir siblings. Have a conversation with one another about how you define respect and how you practice self-respect andFriends First Coordinator, Yaresi Lopez, ran this year’s respect for others. Talk about a time you feltChicago Marathon. Yaresi participated as part of Mercy disrespected and how you handled the situation.Home’s Chicago Heroes Team and raised over $1,100 for ~ Mary QuinnMercy. You can be a Hero too! Consider running the2012 marathon as a member of Mercy Home’s team. Formore information visit Happy Birthday!!marathon.The Friends First Halloween party hosted nearly 20 Januarymatches this year. Mentors and youth who attended Dantrell W...………..……1/01enjoyed pumpkin carving, a costume party, pizza and Najee N…………….…….1/07other treats. They then headed the Chicago Park District’s Armon P………………….1/09Trails of Terror at Theatre on the Lake for a spooky good Willie C…………………..1/10time. KelishaW…………..….....1/24Mercy Home’s annual Women’s Retreat took place on FebruaryOctober 29-20. Friends First staff member Diane Venzera Corey W………….………2/06facilitated the programming around the topic of“Wholeness.” The theme allowed for women who play a Kaylin N………………….2/14role in the lives of our Friends First, residential and Alicia Z……………….......2/22AfterCare youth to explore the topic through self- Breanna K…….………….2/23reflection, testimonials and group activities. Natiaxi C…………………2/29Friends First Director, Katie Smith, recently joined MarchMercy’s Communications Director, and former Friends Makayla B………...……..3/03First mentor and Junior Board Member, Mick O’Grady, as Jordan M…..…………….3/04guests on the Catholic Community of Faith show on 950 Aimiose I…………..……..3/08AM Relevant Radio. Katie and Mick talked about FriendsFirst and Mick’s experience as a mentor and tried to Sarah B………….…...…...3/09recruit more mentors to take part in Yvonne S……….….…......3/21Friends First. Lesly E………..…………..3/22 Marleni H………….……..3/22The Friends first Holiday Party occurredon Saturday, December 10th. Nearly halfof our matches attended—including our We love your match stories so please keepnewest match and our longest standingmatch! The group enjoyed cupcake sharing them with us!
  6. 6. Non-Profit Org.F R I E N D S F I R S T U.S POSTAGE PAID 1140 W. Jackson Boulevard Chicago, IL Chicago, IL 60607-2906 Permit No. 1513 Address Service Requested Things that Make You Go “Hmmm”There is a volcano within all of us that can erupt when things do not go our way. What should we do with these feelings: biteour tongue, roll our eyes, speak our mind even if you hurt people’s feelings, or get into a physical altercation? The answer isdifficult to figure out sometimes given that there is no special book to read, or a song that can give us magic powers to be stressfree all the time. We have a right to be upset. But we also have a conscience that allows us to decide where the conversation/conflict will take us. In our mind, we have to weigh the good versus the bad, the interrupting versus the listening, and theassumptions versus the clarification.These decisions do not come by special invitation; they are choices that we have to make. Everyone has a sense of right andwrong and we also have tools that prevent us from crossing lines that disrespect others. One way to build a healthy persona is totry to understand other peoples’ points of view. Think how boring life would be if everyone liked the same thing or thought thesame way. Understanding is building your own puzzle of the world, not by how you think it is, but how you discover things to be.Think of this example. Let’s say Sam begins to come across as rude since every time we have a conversation, he is constantlydistracted by his cell phone. How would I know if he is expecting an important phone call? As a caring friend, I have to test ourfriendship by politely asking, “Am I interrupting an important discussion? Should we meet later, or should I give you a fewminutes to take care of your important matter?” On the other hand, Sam has to be aware of the importance of the conversation.How is Sam going to know if I am discussing something really sensitive or important to me if his full attention is on his phone,rather than on listening to our conversation? When anyone is about to disrespect another human being, remember to test thewater of friendship before jumping. This self-test can lead to a healthy, special relationship that is full of mutual RESPECT. ~ Alberto Paguada F R I E N D S F I R S T A newsletter dedicated to building and supporting the Friends First community of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls. For more information, please call (312) 738-7552 or visit