mentor program has a new program manager with a passion for sharing the importance of math, science and technology education for girls and minority students.
Mara Fiksdal joined CISR in early September, taking the place of former mentor program manager, Erin Iverson, who decided to return to a teaching career.
“I’ve always wanted to work for CISR,” said Fiksdal who lives in Issaquah with her husband, Mike, and 2-year-old son, Soren.
Prior to CISR, Fiksdal worked on the National Girls Collaborative Project through the EdLab Group in Lynnwood, as a program manager for Girl Scouting in the School Day, and at the Pierce County YWCA’s “Operation Smart,” a program that encourages middle school girls to participate in math, science and technology.
Fiksdal is currently getting ready for National Mentor Month in January, and “Thank Your Mentor Day” on Jan. 26. Check back on Patch for more coverage and special CISR features next month.
While there are a dedicated group of mentors who participate in the program, Fiksdal hopes to recruit additional volunteers.
“I’d like to have mentors who reflect the Renton community,” she said. The program is especially lacking in men, African Americans, Hispanics and younger volunteers.
She’s heard all the excuses, and admits that time can be a limiting factor.
“Most people say they don’t want to ‘flunk’ as a mentor,” she said, adding that the kids are just happy to hang out, shoot hoops and talk for one hour, one time each week. “Most of our kids are so excited to have a mentor and it really helps with their bond to the school.”
Mentors are just like older friends who can offer support, she said. “A lot of these kids just don’t have a support system in their lives.”
If someone really doesn’t have the time; however, they can still help the program by talking it up to their friends, colleagues, employees, church or book club.
“People are incredibly networked,” she said. “Just because you might not have time to be a mentor, you may know someone else who does.”
For more information on how to become a mentor, visit www.renton.cirwa.org, or contact Mara Fiksdal at (425) 430-6659, or email@example.com.