Dear Shepherds Friends,

We’re off and running in the new school year and all systems point to “GO.”

First, thank you to all the mentors and family members for making the effort this past month to show up and participate in our partner school Kick-Off events with your students. We know it’s not often easy to get a teenager away from their books and computers on a weekday evening, but over 90% of you were able to do so with nearly 100 people attending each of the Kick-Off events.

At each of our partner school Kick-Offs, the energy, enthusiasm and the optimism was palpable. This was particularly true among the 19 new student/family/mentor relationships we inaugurated this year. See below article for photos and highlights.

Concurrent with the Kick-Off events we have rolled right into student workshops, college prep activities and student-mentor get togethers. As I have mentioned in last month’s letter, we intend to focus more of our time and resources on supporting our mentors by providing optional events, like October 28th’s pre-Halloween Corn Maze, school lunch dates, and ideas for student-mentor activities. Our Shepherds website has an updated list of fun and maybe even educational and cultural activities for mentor and students to check out.

As we approach the season of thanksgiving and gift giving, I’d like to encourage mentors to undertake a community service project or projects with their students over the next two months. Remember we’re advocating for “community engagement” this year and what better way to initiate those connections than to start now. One project that has worked well in the past with mentors and students has been helping out at the Exchange Club of New Canaan Christmas Tree Sale. Click here for more details.

Bigger picture… as the days get shorter and the days turn to weeks and months, I encourage all of us including staff and Board to jump in and make the best of the beautiful fall weather and catch up on the fun we put on hold for nearly two years.

Tempus fugit!…Carpe Diem!