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
Award. 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.