Stories & Testimonials

To Whom It May Concern:

Ana was assigned to my classroom as a parent mentor in August of 2013, through the wonderful parent mentor program sponsored by the Valley Settlement Project. This project was designed as a dual generation initiative to empower low-income parents economically, while at the same time assisting them in preparing their children for school success. This is exactly what has happened for Ana. She was a mentor for a total of 130 hours in my preschool classroom, before she was hired to replace a teacher assistant in my classroom. After 8 months of working in our program, Ana’s son will enroll in the Campus Kids’ Early Childhood Program.

She came to my classroom as a parent mentor for 8 hours a week starting in August. Every day that she walked in the door, she had a big smile on her face, and a growth mindset. Ana demonstrated openness to learning, a positive attitude, and a dedication to the children in the classroom. Ana is invaluable with her insights, her ideas, and her abilities to communicate and relate to others in both English and Spanish.

Ana is currently enrolled in early childhood classes through CMC, and she has an 8 month old child of her own. She attends classes at night and comes to my preschool classroom with questions about her own child’s development. She is always excited to implement something new that she has learned at home with her own child.

Thanks to The Valley Settlement Project, I have gained an amazing new staff member, who I know will continue to expand her own mind, and will positively impact the minds of the young children in my program. Ana will serve as a role-model for the next generation of active learners. Ana is a perfect exemplar of what The Valley Settlement Project can do for multiple generations.

Karla Stukey
Director of CRES Campus Kids

“I decided to be a part of the Parent Mentor program because I am so grateful for my community….Because of this experience, I now feel more confident about my natural skills and my English skills.”
Parent Mentor Participant

My experience as a parent mentor has been truly beautiful. At the beginning when I decided to get involved with this program my main motivation was to help in everything and anything I could. I wanted to be like a mother to all those kids but I never imagined I would receive more than I would give. Every day when I walk into my classroom and I see the joy on all the little faces of those little kids, my heart and soul are completely filled. The teacher with whom I’ve been able to work is a beautiful and wonderful human being. Her love towards her profession makes me feel really inspired.

In my personal life, besides the fact that from day to day I see that my work is useful, I have learned so much. Even in my own house, with my own daughters, I have implemented it and have seen beautiful results.
I thank this precious foundation for the opportunity to give but also to receive. God bless each and every one of the people that make this possible.

Thank you for allowing us to dream!!

Parent Mentor
Sopris Elementary School
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

What does it mean to be a parent mentor? It’s a very important question, and for me it has given me the opportunity to know and learn of a new culture and of a new life. It means to do something important for others, even when you don’t expect something in return. It’s simply to share what I know and that I can support those kids that are interested in learning. It’s to share a little bit of your time with the kids that require help. It’s to give them confidence, and it’s to help them feel like they have support; not only to learn academics but also with personal things.  How they feel and how they live are also important factors.
I hope that these kids that I’m supporting develop and evolve with the rest, and I’m sure that I have grown enormously and now know that I can do something for my community.

Parent Mentor at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, Colorado

My experience in these past three months has been very beautiful. It was something that took me out of my regular routine and daily habits. I learned that not only did I personally need help to learn, but that there are many boys and girls that need a parent mentor in their schools, and that presence strengthens them so much. They also learn to have confidence in themselves as well as with others. The advancement was great in all of the kids; my teacher said that having me there in her class helps so much that the kids don’t get distracted and pay more attention.
The last day of class I almost cried because the kids and the teacher thought that I was not coming back. I mentioned to them that I will be returning in January and they were so happy. They said good bye to me with a beautiful hug that again almost made me cry. Miss Cathy’s class is so nice.
Thank you so much.

Parent Mentor at Glenwood Springs Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

My experience as a parent mentor has been incredible. I have had good moments as well as bad moments. The day that I will probably never forget is the day when a little girl in my fourth grade class came to me and said that when she grows up she also wants to be a parent mentor like me and change the world. That to me was incredible because it was the moment I realized that in dedicating only two hours a day of my life I can do so many things. I can help and support these kids and their dreams, and that gives me a lot of joy.

Parent Mentor at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, Colorado

My experience as an assistant to the teacher has been very nice because when I began working with the kids some were somewhat timid. They did not know how to write their name, nor did they have a lot of communication with their teacher. It was so beautiful when they began to know me and learned to write, learned to read, and learned to play. That to me was amazing.

Another great experience was when I walked into the classroom one day and I was very sad because a human being very close to me had passed away. The teacher mentioned to the students that I was sad and all of them got up from their seats and ran towards me to hug me. I felt in that moment that life had to continue, that they needed me just like I needed them. It’s beautiful to know that there are kids that love you without asking for anything in return; only with love they feel happy.

Parent Mentor at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

This is my experience: I strongly support the parent mentor program in my sons’ elementary school. This program has changed my life. When I was a young girl I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher back in my country but, for various reasons, it could not happen. Now with this program, I have had the opportunity to support a kindergarten teacher. This, for me, is a dream come true.
As a result of this experience I have been interested in returning to my studies and prepare myself to carry out my dream. I’m very grateful to the Manaus Foundation and every member that represents it. God continue to bless them for giving an opportunity to the parents to make us feel useful and continue to grow.

Parent Mentor at Basalt Elementary School in Basalt, Colorado

To be honest all this time that I have assisted has been a great experience for me. I’ve had some personal problems and there have been days that I have not been able to assist class. Those days are odd to me because they have become a necessity to me.
I also want to mention that I have thought about not returning as a parent mentor. The day I told my teacher that I was not returning again because I had decided to stay at home, she hugged me very hard and told me that she understood all the problems I was going through and that if for any reason I wanted to come back they would be waiting for me. Because of that I will continue even though hard days will come.

In the life of all people and families there will always come days that are very very hard, but I believe that the one who does not fight, does not win. Thanks to all those who have supported us during this whole time and for your patience. It was an impressive experience.

Parent Mentor at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

I want to tell you about my experience in the classroom where I do my service. Since I entered this classroom I noticed there was a very special child just for me. He had a problem. He had autism and did not like to play with anyone, did not like to sit down and listen at story time, and did not like to draw or do any crafts. Most importantly I did not know to get close to him. Slowly I started to observe him and noticed he really liked to count number and letters. Now he does projects with me and we play together as well as with the other kids. I see him more cheerful than before and that makes me feel like it was worth all my effort. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, Manaus.

Parent Mentor at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, Colorado

My experience as a parent mentor has exceeded the expectations that I had since the beginning. What I liked most about the training that they gave us to work together as the third generation team was: friendship, support, confidentiality, humanity, respect and responsibility. These things help me in the school.

The first day that I arrived I did not know what to do. I was feeling scared, shy and insecure but as the days go by I have noticed a difference.  I arrive at the classroom only to see them smiling at me when they greet me. The teacher is always so attentive and I feel the difference. I feel more confident and without fear. I always try to help the kids and I have learned every single one of their names. The days that I do not see them I feel like I’m missing something. I would like to be with them and ask them how they are or what they have done and just spend more time with them.

In my classroom I work with a small group of kids out in the hallway, we work on the ABC’s. At the beginning I was working with six kids and now I’m down to only one (who still needs help). She is an Anglo girl and at times it’s hard to communicate with her because I do not speak English but that motivates me to want more in my life. Thanks for allowing me to help in my community, to grow as a person, and through this program I have begun to dream again.

Thanks to you for making this possible.

Parent Mentor at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

I’m very grateful to the Manaus Foundation because thanks to them my life has changed so much. I have realized the big impact a gesture of kindness has to simply help these kids. Children are wonderful little people and with a simple smile they tell you everything. Although I don’t speak English that does not limit me to give love and assist these children, and one smile from them towards me makes me feel good, really good.

As for me personally, now I feel good. I feel useful. I feel satisfied. Being a Parent Mentor has helped me to understand my own children as well and participate more in their education. My children and my husband are also very happy about what I am doing because what I am doing is making me happy. Thanks to all those that make this possible. Thank you very much!

Parent Mentor at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, Colorado