Mentors and mentees celebrate a successful year

May 2015

Mentors, mentees and family members joined together to celebrate the end of a successful year for the PULSE mentor program. The event was held at the Hartsville skating rink at the end of May. Darlington County School District PULSE facilitator, Justin Dunham, began the evening by recognizing mentors for their dedication and commitment to the students. He told a short story about each mentor noting that many including Jada Gore, James Hudson, Natalie Zeigler and Blair Bryan had been involved with the program since its inception in 2012. Mentor school coordinators, Raven Legette, Thornwell School for the Arts; Anita Brown, Southside Early Childhood Center; Jarriel Jacobs, Washington Street; and Pierre Brown, West Hartsville presented each volunteer with a PULSE mentor t-shirt and gift bag.

Dunham thanked parents for allowing their children to participate in this special program, and shared a personal account of what mentoring has meant to him. He introduced one of his own mentees and showed how the two of them share a secret handshake. “This is something just between us. We do this handshake every time we get together,” he explained.

Mentors stood proudly beside their mentees as Dunham called each student by name and presented them with completion certificates. In addition, students got to select a gift from a table of puzzles, games and books chosen to encourage summer learning.

Following the awards ceremony and a quick meal, the students hit the rink and enjoyed skating for the remainder of the evening.

Mentors meet their charges

October 2014

St. Luke United Methodist Church hosted the fourth annual mentor meet and greet celebration for students attending the Comer schools. The PULSE mentor program was created to develop lasting and meaningful relationships between mentors and mentees in the Hartsville community. The program has more than 60 mentors serving 70 students in the four Comer schools.

Over 50 students, parents, teachers and district officials attended the event. To break the ice and create a more relaxed atmosphere, there were games and activities for everyone. In addition, two students performed for all in attendance. Austin Burgess, a student at West Hartsville elementary, provided a formal welcome in the form of a poem. Ja'Leya Liles, a student at Thornwell School for the Arts, delivered a rousing rendition of Kelly Clarkson's song, Breakaway. This is the first year the students/mentees have performed.

Mentors and students gather at meet and greet

Jan. 2014 event filled with fun

More than 50 parents, students, teachers and community members congregated at St. Luke Methodist Church on Jan. 23, 2014 to celebrate mentors and their students. The meet and greet partners students with their mentors, and brings all the parties together in a fun, festive atmosphere. 

Adults and children were laughing, talking and playing games as they learned more about each other. The mentor program is designed to help children develop along the six pathways, and keep the community interested in local education issues.

For more information about the mentor program, contact the program assistants at each school:

West Hartsville, Veronica Gainey, 843-857-3270
Washington Street, Jarriel Jacobs, 843-383-3141
Thornwell School for the Arts, Raven LeGetta, 843-383-3927
Southside Early Childhood Center, Anita Goodwin, 843-857-3310

Police Chief James Hudson visits West Hartsville Elementary

Offers advice to fourth and fifth graders

Hartsville Police Chief James Hudson visits with fourth and fifth graders at West Hartsville Elementary

Hartsville Police Chief James Hudson visits with fourth and fifth graders at West Hartsville Elementary

As students grow up, it is the responsibility of parents and teachers to provide education on how to make good decisions. Sometimes, however, it is the voice of an outside influence that children respond to. On Feb. 19, at West Hartsville Elementary School, fourth and fifth grade boys met with Hartsville Police Chief James Hudson who talked about the importance of making good decisions and how those decisions can change a life.

During his presentation, Chief Hudson said, “We need to establish self-discipline as a lesson of respect. When one person is talking, show the respect needed to give them your full attention.”

The conversation centered around a question Chief Hudson asked: “What do you want to do in life and what will it take to get there?” The answers are the stuff dreams are made of. One fourth grade student said, “I want to be a professional football player. I have to work hard and play hard in order to be successful. I also have to do well in school and pass my classes." Another fourth grader said, “I want to play in the NBA or help others.”

Chief Hudson listened to the students, considering their desire to play professional sports. “You need self-discipline and tremendous listening skills to be an athlete," he explained. "If you cannot listen or cannot control yourself, then you cannot respond in an appropriate manner.

“Making bad decisions in life will prevent you from moving up in life or living that amazing life you all hope for. But it starts now. Now, you have make those decisions that impact your life in a positive manner,” Hudson added.

When asked why they attended the meeting with Chief Hudson, two fourth graders clearly understood the purpose of the visit. One said, “We are here to learn how to make good decisions.” The other said, “So we can learn right from wrong.”

Chief Hudson wants to keep in touch with the students, and plans to have weekly meetings where he can see how they are doing and introduce them to other male role models in the community. “You’re worth the effort to help change you for a better future,” Chief Hudson told the boys. 

Gabriel Fonseca, TEACH Foundation intern, says she was surprised at the learning that took place during Chief Hudson's visit. “I never expected to hear what I did,” she said. 

(Story submitted by Gabriel Fonseca)


PULSE Mentor Program Benefits

Teacher comments and observations

The comments on this page come from teachers who have students working with a caring adult in the PULSE mentor program. 

"The students seem to light up when they see their mentor come in the room." (Southside 5k teacher)

"I have seen a positive difference in both the school and the students since the implementation of the PULSE Mentor program began. The students are so happy to have someone interested in them and it has really boosted their self confidence. It has had an impact on the school as well because it is nice to have community members involved and being partners with us in the education of these children. The Mentor program has brought educators, community and parents together to help our children achieve." (Southside teacher and mentor coordinator)

"My two first grade students who have weekly mentors live for those Friday visits." (Thornwell grade 1 teacher)

"I can see that my mentors have made a positive impact on their child's school experience and social pathway." (Thornwell grade 1 teacher)

"I see more smiles, less tears. More honesty, less disappointments. I see the value a mentor program holds. It's a treasure worth fighting for." (Washington Street grade 1 teacher and mentor coordinator)

"The students are excited about having an adult in their lives who cares about them and their success. They are more attentive to their studies and have improved their behavior." (Washington Street principal)

"Strong relationships are formed through this valuable program." (West Hartsville grade 5)

"Mentoring was beneficial for me in a way that I didn't expect. Each week, I looked forward to the hour with my mentee because it was one hour when I stepped out of my daily grind to be fully present for an amazing being who I know sincerely appreciated my being there. The joy and laughter we shared together in that hour fueled my energy for the remainder of my week."  (President of the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce & Darlington County Tourism.)
“The mentor program has provided me the chance to help children become better citizens.  I would not trade the opportunity for anything. This experience has been eye opening, and I look forward to working with more children in the continuing years.” (Music teacher, WHE)
“The three years I’ve spent mentoring a student at Thornwell School for the Arts have been rewarding, whether reading with her, playing games or simply being there for her special events. I’ve enjoyed taking part in her social and emotional development and watching her grow over time, and this has made it easy to set aside an hour every week to make a difference in her life.” (Hartsville City Manager)