Governor LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy honor teen mentors

Governor Paul R. LePage and Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy President and CEO Liza McFadden honored 14 teen mentors with Excellence Awards in leadership and service during a recognition ceremony at the Blaine House this week. Students mentoring in the Foundation’s Teen Trendsetters™ program assist first through third graders with reading during weekly tutoring sessions.

“I am proud of these students who serve as positive role models and leaders for their mentees,” said Governor LePage. “Mentoring at any age during a student’s career can lead to a lifelong commitment to helping others and their community.”

The Teen Trendsetters Excellence Award is given to mentors who provide outstanding leadership and service, particularly with helping their mentees read on grade level. After successfully piloting Teen Trendsetters in Windham, Maine, during 2012 and 2013, the Barbara Bush Foundation this past year expanded the program to 20 schools throughout Maine.

Teens are the true champions of this volunteer program, spending one-on-one time each week bonding with their young mentees while teaching them to read better and enjoy books. Since the inception of the program in Florida in 2002, more than 40,000 teens and elementary students have benefited. These outstanding teens have logged more than 314,000 volunteer hours and their mentees have received more than 230,000 books for their own “at-home” library.

On average, participating first graders started seven months behind their peers in reading, but advanced by more than a grade level through the program. Meanwhile, the vast majority of 12th grade mentors have a 98 percent graduation rate and, among the graduates, 89 percent indicated they were college bound.

“In a world where the science, technology, engineering and math fields serve as the bedrock of education, our Teen Trendsetters are able to teach young students the love of reading through the sciences,” said Foundation President and CEO Liza McFadden. “We proudly recognize these volunteer teens for their leadership and commitment to literacy.”

Among this year’s honorees are seniors Aiyanna Maciel from Windham High School, and Brianna Miquelon from Lewiston High School. Aiyanna’s advisors Kristin Chavonelle and Amy Denecker, shared the following: “Aiyanna recognizes the value of mentoring to young people and the importance of literacy to improving education and building communities.”

Senior Brianna Miquelon at Lewiston High School helps her mentee Saido weekly, and has never missed a day to serve as a role model, despite her academic workload. Her advisor Jenn Carter shared the following: “She is frequently the student who steps up to lead the group during our monthly training meetings, and models what leadership looks like by maintaining her weekly commitment to her mentee.”

The following students will receive Teen Trendsetters Excellence Awards:

Zoe Adams, Grade 12, Gray New Gloucester High at Russell & Memorial Elementary School, Advisor Karen Licht

Megan E. Brown, Grade 12, Bonny Eagle High at Buxton Elementary School, Advisor Karen Wade

Eden Koehling, Grade 12, Morse High at Dike Newell Elementary School, Advisor Mary Parker

Aiyanna Maciel, Grade 12, Windham High at Windham Elementary School, Advisor Kristin Chavonelle

Meagan McKeon, Grade 11, Searsport District High & Elementary School, Advisor Amy Hafford

Ayana McRae, Grade 9, LearningWorks at Riverton Elementary School, Advisor Jaclyn D’Annibale

Briaunna S. D. Meyer, Grade 11, Kennebunk High & Elementary School, Advisor Stacey Kalil

Brianna Miquelon, Grade 12, Lewiston High at Gov. Longley Elementary School, Advisor Jenn Carter

Ahmed Mohamed, Grade 10, Edward Little High School at Park Avenue Elementary School, Advisor Jill Hyland

Joseph Oakes, Grade 11, Community School in Fort Kent at Community Elementary School, Advisor Cara Merrill

Jade Ouellette, Grade 12, Wells Ogunquit Community High & Elementary School, Advisor Bonny Esty

Noah Pringle, Grade 10, Mt. View High at Morse Memorial, Director Pat Hughes

Isaac Salisbury, Grade 11, Freeport High at Morse St. S., Advisor Dede Bennell

Ariana Viger, Grade 8, Mountain Valley MS at Meroby ES, Advisor Barb Radmore

The Barbara Bush Foundation is the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy. The goals of the Foundation are simple: for children to start school ready to excel and help parents improve their literacy skills. To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy’s commitment to promote family literacy in homes across America, please visit www.helpthemread.org.