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October 21, 2008 -- THETFORD MENTORING

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Whitney Odden '09     By Mark Washburn
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October 21, 2008 -- THETFORD MENTORING

by Jeff Friedman, Jaeger Civic Intern

            The Thetford Mentoring program at Dartmouth has been in existence for several years. It allows Dartmouth student-athletes to get in touch with their community by becoming a mentor for a young student at the Thetford School. Each Dartmouth volunteer is paired with a young student in grades 1-6 and visits one day a week for an hour.  The mentors spend time with their buddies either in the classroom, at lunch or at recess.  The most unique aspect of the Thetford program is the stress the program puts on the "buddy relationship" between mentor and mentee.  Most Thetford students have either requested the companionship of a buddy or have been identified by their teacher as someone who might socially or academically benefit from having a Dartmouth student mentor.

Whitney Odden, ’09 on the Women’s Soccer team, runs the program and has been touched by the lives of the Thetford kids. “Thetford has been a wonderful experience for me, and I have had the same buddy since my freshmen year.  The most amazing and rewarding part of the program is seeing how much the Thetford kids appreciate just an hour of your time a week.  They truly look up to Dartmouth student athletes and love being around us.” Odden commented. “I am always amazed at how excited they are each week to see us.  Some of our mentors have written to their buddies on off-terms and spend time with them outside of Thetford as well. My buddy has come to a few of my soccer games, and I have been to some of her extracurricular activities as well.”

            Over 40 students this fall will participate in the program for the first time along with 20 returning mentors. Derek Stenquist, ’10 on the Men’s Soccer team, is very involved in Thetford Mentoring and will take the program over this fall. He has served numerous hours for Thetford and really enjoys working with the children. Thetford has attracted many other Dartmouth athletes, in addition to Odden and Stenquist, and will continue to grow with the continued support and influence of Dartmouth student-athletes.  


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