Spills and Thrills: Talbot Mentors—and Mentees—on Ice


When asked what he likes about ice skating, ten-year-old Jacob doesn’t miss a beat. “That I glide,” he says as he skates off to join his buddies on the ice. How about  seven-year-old Aiyonna? “If I fall down, I can get up quickly,” she shares. Between glides, spills come with the territory as just about everyone is finding out. As John says to his mentee, ten-year-old Xavion, “See that? The little girl in the pink sweater who was skating so well. . . all of a sudden—bam, and she’s down.  Even experienced skaters hit the ice.” It’s been 55 years since mentor John has been on the ice. Tonight, the Talbot Mentors goal of expanding horizons is playing out for mentors as well as mentees. A good time is being had by all.

Group photo of mentors, mentees and TM staff

Whenever Talbot Mentors sponsors a special event for mentors and mentees, energy runs high. Lifted spirits are contagious when the bottom line is FUN! At the ice skating party at the  Talbot County Community Center, a group of three dozen mentors and mentees has gathered to lace up skates and take to the ice.

Bre’Asia’s takeaway? “I like it. It’s fun. I want to do it again!” Lori, Bre’Asia’s mentor, explains that the 11-year-old had expressed some concern about getting out on the ice. It would be her first time. “I think having her sister come along helped with her confidence,” Lori says. “Plus Bre’Asia knows so many of the kids here through Talbot Mentors. I was amazed at how quickly she learned and was able to skate by herself.”

And what about mentor Lori, who says she wasn’t sure she’d even “lace up”? “I’m glad I was able to make it around the rink a few times,” she says. “It was exhilarating to be surrounded by so many people smiling and laughing—and it was a good way to get some exercise.: All in all,” she says, “it’s a good, healthy way to spend time together.”

Mentors (left to right) Sheila Buckmaster, John Schreiner, Lori Yates

There they go, around the rink. A pack of three Talbot Mentors boys in an impromptu race. A mentor and her mentee gliding together. A pair of girls holding hands. Just off the ice, a group of skaters dig into some French fries. A few feet from the kids, Talbot Mentors Executive Director Gerson Martinez points his camera toward the ice and clicks away as familiar faces come into view.

“I’m thrilled that so many of our mentors took advantage of this great opportunity to spend valuable time with their mentees. With the support of community partners like the Talbot County Community Center, we’re able to sponsor events like these that give many of our mentees a brand new experience, and enable all of us to strengthen the bonds between our mentors and mentees. I’m so excited for an even bigger Ice Skating night next time.” says Martinez.

“We had two mentees, both elementary-school age, talk about how they have never been ice skating before and always wanted to try it,” says Rachel White, the Talbot Mentors staffer who coordinated the skating event. “One was so excited and went out with no hesitation and loved everything about it. The second one was very nervous, so she decided to stand and watch. After a while she was convinced to try it. After one lap around she was smiling–and clearly having the time of her life.” Talbot Mentors paid for skate rentals and the 6:30–8:30 session—for mentees and mentors.

One mentor who had been at last year’s skating event with his mentee said that this is their favorite way to spend time together. “It’s challenging and we have a lot of laughs. It’s a great night out.”

Mentors and staff come away so gratified by the overwhelmingly fearless mentees. New to the ice or experienced, the kids embrace the challenges and forge ahead. There’s nothing better than watching the pairs try skating and to see the smiles as they learn together.

“The faces and sounds of all the children—that’s the best part of it all,” says Bre’Asia’s mentor, Lori.

For more information, to make a contribution, or to volunteer as a mentor, call Talbot Mentors at 410-770-5999, or visit www.talbotmentors.org.

Our next New Mentor Info Session is open to the public and will be held on Monday, February 12th at 4:30pm at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 114 S Washington St #101, Easton, MD 21601.

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