- Educational Mentorship Program
- September 26, 2017
Denise Tenyer is a proud mother of three grown children and a thrilled grandmother of four. She is a State of Illinois certified teacher who owns Learning Trek Academy, a Barrington based reading readiness-early literacy academy for young children ages 3 and older. Her interest and involvement with volunteerism and advocacy has taken her into volunteer positions within both hospital and hospice programs. She has also worked with domestic violence victims in a crisis shelter/hotline setting. She’s a past board member of the Golden Corridor Association for the Education of Young Children (GCAEYC) and is also a past executive board member for Barrington Junior Women’s Club (BJWC). In her free time she currently volunteers as an Educational Mentor for Let It Be Us, a nonprofit with the mission of adoption and education of children in Illinois foster care, located in Barrington, Illinois. The following is an interview between Let It Be Us and Denise Tenyer on the value and importance of her mentorship role.
Let It Be Us: How did you decide to be an LIBU mentor?
Tenyer: Ever since I was young I have always been a volunteer. I started youth volunteering as a Candystriper at my local hospital. I’ve been involved as an adult volunteer in many programs, from hospice work, to domestic violence crisis hotline, to local philanthropic organizations like Barrington Junior Women’s Club (BJWC).
LIBU came to my attention in our community as a program committed to giving back to children in need. I appreciated that and wanted to help. I saw a Facebook post looking for volunteers. I answered back and was thrilled when they contacted me.
Let It Be Us: Tell us what you can about the child/young adult that you mentor.
Tenyer: I was fortunate enough to be introduced to an amazing young man who was, at the time I met him, part of a young adult group home in the area. With the help of his caseworkers and LIBU he has since moved on to transitional housing preparing for independent living at age 21.
Let It Be Us: What do you like best about being a mentor?
Tenyer: I have always lived by his quote “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”- Muhammad Ali
Mentoring with LIBU is just another way for me to be of service and hopefully make a small difference in the life of others. Children in the system need the type of support network that agencies like LIBU can provide. They need to know that there are people out there that listen to them, believe in them, and can encourage them to strive to be their best. LIBU Mentorship offers that.
Let It Be Us: What do you like least?
Tenyer: Being involved more directly in the DCFS system I see how critical it is that our state programs are funded adequately so they can continue to provide the vital services that they do. Our state is in trouble, and the services to these children are in peril. That frightens and angers me. These are children who need our help, and we are in danger of turning our backs on them.
Let It Be Us: What have been some of your biggest mentoring accomplishments?
Tenyer: Every step forward (big or small) that my Mentee makes is a big accomplishment!
Whether it is getting to work on time, or opening a savings account, learning how to speak up for himself, or how to make dinners for himself, believing in himself and his value, those are the things that make me smile and know that what I am doing is making a difference in his life and his future.
Let It Be Us: Can you predict how the child/young adult you work with will do in the future?
Tenyer: With a positive self image and a network of individuals like those from LIBU that support him, his future is bright.
Let It Be Us: Anything else you would like to add?
Tenyer: Thanks to all those individuals that step up to give of their time, talents and money to help make a difference in the world for those who need it.
This interview with Denise Tenyer is the first in a series of interviews with mentors that Let It Be Us will be publishing in the coming months. Let It Be Us recruits and trains mentors to work side-by-side with children and young adults who live in foster care group homes. The program is designed to give these children and young adults a support system that would otherwise not exist outside of being adopted and having a family support system. To be a Let It Be Us mentor a volunteer needs to pass a federal background check, attend 8-10 hours of training, commit 2-3 hours per week (sometimes more), and attend a 2 hour monthly Let It Be Us support group/workshop. And one more thing, a Let It Be Us mentor needs to be prepared to handle the incredible reward of changing the life of a child.
Let It Be Us is currently recruiting mentors for this program. If you are interested you can register below.
The Let It Be Us Mentorship Program is funded in part by an anonymous grant. Let It Be Us is a registered 501(c)(3) with the mission of adoption and education of children in Illinois foster care. Learn more at www.LetItBeUs.org.