8th Annual Red Rubber Ball celebrates Perseverence

8th Annual Red Rubber Ball celebrates Perseverence

On Saturday June 13, 2015, Project Leadership mentors, mentees and families gathered at Marion Ivy Tech’s Conference Center for the 8th annual Red Rubber Ball banquet and celebration.

The Red Rubber Ball event is a time to reflect. It’s a time to celebrate. And this year, it was a time for tears. Our rejoicing came after sobering stories of struggles, which became stories of perseverance. Our tears were happy tears, as we celebrated the courage, tenacity and grit displayed by our students while overcoming difficulties.

With our mentors, mentees and families gathered, the celebration provided opportunity to award and recognize those who have overcome, encouraged and persevered. Project Leadership’s Senior Video debuted, highlighting stories of perseverance, a theme woven throughout the evening.

Mentees shared moving stories of perseverance. Jessica Meza, a first-generation Scholar, who is graduating from Ivy Tech Community College with a Human Service degree, shared her successes in college and her plans for helping others persevere. Ben Brown, Meranda Herbert and Regina Martinez each inspired us with stories of overcoming obstacles; their perseverance stories showed the transformation of difficulty to hope and encouragement.

Project Leadership gave several honors throughout the evening. The Encourager Award, given to someone who Project Leadership considers to be a super mentor to our organization.

Tim Clark of Indiana Youth Institute, the Indiana College Success Mentoring
(ICSM) Initiative Program Manager is the recipient of the 2015 Encourager
Tammy Pearson describes Tim, “For the past four years, this Encourager has not only supported Project Leadership students, families and mentors, but has also shaped the very programming that exists today.

Tim Clark, you are a role model for all.

A teacher to many.

A coach for a privileged few.

And an encourager to Project Leadership and our grateful team.”

Mentee and Mentor of the Year for Delaware and Grant Counties were awarded to nominees for whom the mentoring relationship has impacted their life with growth, change and encouragement.

2015 Mentee of the Year for Grant CountyJenniferHauge

Jennifer Hauge, 2015 graduate of Marion High School. Jennifer is a young lady who works hard, gets good grades and is involved in school and community, and has accomplished all this while having the unspeakable happen. Jennifer lost her mother tragically this year. Jennifer spoke to us about her Red Rubber Ball – to make a difference in someone’s life.


2015 Mentee of the Year for Delaware CountyTaylorSpringer

Taylor Springer, 2015 graduate of Wapahani High School. Mentor Brittany Snyder says of Taylor, “There is no doubt in my mind that Taylor will accomplish all of her dreams. Throughout my time as her mentor, Taylor has persevered, regardless of obstacles. She never complains, and never makes excuses. Instead, she simply looks at her options, and takes action to succeed.”


2015 Mentor of the Year Grant County2015 GC Mentor of the Year

Barb Pack, 2015 Mentor of the Year Grant County has been a mentor to Venita Hayes. A 2015 Graduate of Marion High School, Venita Hayes says of Barb, “Because of Barb, I am a better person and I believe my future is so much stronger. She changed my life, and I couldn’t ask for better.”


2015 Mentor of the Year Delaware CountyKarenHowells

Karen Howells, 2015 Mentor of the Year Delaware County, was visibly moved as she watched a video of her mentee Haley Spurlock, a 2015 graduate of Muncie Central High School. Describing Karen’s impact in her life, Haley said of Karen, “No one is more deserving of this award. Karen has impacted my life so much. I would not be who I am today without her.”


Also honored at the event were Mentors Bill Cramer and Ellen Spitzer, who each have mentored for eight years.


The Red Rubber Ball celebration serves as a touchpoint each year, a time to reflect upon the previous year, and to prepare for the future. Throughout the evening, it became clear: as we tell stories of accomplishing our dreams, we will also share stories of struggles and challenges that were overcome through perseverance and courage. By sharing their accomplishments, our mentees encouraged and inspired us to do the work to reach toward our dreams, and to help others reach for their dreams.


Would you consider joining Project Leadership in our work supporting students? To give to Project Leadership go to www.projectleadership.org/donate.

Interested in learning more about mentoring? Read Six Qualities of a Successful Mentor.

Graduating seniors gather for Scholar Bridge Conference

Graduating seniors gather for Scholar Bridge Conference

Perseverance was the word of the day at the Scholar Bridge Conference.

On Saturday June 13, 21st Century Scholars from nine high schools in four counties gathered at the Marion Ivy Tech campus to learn about making a successful transition from high school to college, and about persevering when facing challenges.

The primary purpose:  To give students parents and mentors the information and inspiration they need 
to be ready for a college campus in the fall.

The summer between high school and college can be a challenging one as recently-graduated high school students navigate the steps necessary to matriculate to a college setting – analyzing financial aid reports, preparing to physically move on campus, and figuring out books and other necessary supplies.

The conference was funded in part by USA Funds in partnership with Project Leadership, the Indiana Youth Institute, Ivy Tech Community College, the 21st Century Scholars program and ISM College Planning.

Sessions throughout the day included:

  • Financial Aid & Money Wise: Robert Sommers with ISM College Planning spoke about the intricacies of college financial aid, including all the steps that are necessary after the FAFSA is filed. “Getting it filed is like the first mile of a marathon,” he said. “There is work you have to do afterwards to get to the finish line.”
  • Grit and Thought Shift: Project Leadership’s Steve Gibson focused on what students need to do to prepare themselves mentally to be successful and were introduced to the concept of grit and its role in determining success at the post-secondary level. He said students need to be willing to seek assistance when they are struggling, whether it be with academics, financial aid, or personal issues. “Your college experience should be a no shame zone,” Gibson said.
  • A post-secondary student panel where students from five different post-secondary settings shared insights about everything from campus life, to studying habits, to recommendations for successful roommate relationships.
  • A financial aid professional panel that focused on insights from financial aid professionals who work directly with college students. Panelists provided general troubleshooting advice, as well as information about issues that pertained specifically to Scholars.
  • Everything Parents and Mentors Should Know: IWU Director of Multiculutural Access and Outreach David Humphrey discussed how mentors and parents can support their students during the transition to college and during the freshman year and beyond. He focused on explaining “staying power” as well and helping students develop realistic expectations.

The conference concluded with students receiving a gift card to assist with school supplies, as well as door prizes donated provided by conference sponsors and local higher education institutions.

SBC Registration

Student at SBC

Periodic Table of Persistance

student panel 2015