Bentonville, AR…Mayor Orman is pleased to announce the 2019 first quarter winners of the Mayor’s Outstanding Citizen Award are: Bentonville High School Varsity Boys Basketball team and Marisa Snow.
Marisa Snow, Counselor at Barker Middle School nominated Coach Richard Rippee and the Bentonville High School Varsity Boys Basketball Team. Ms. Snow wrote that the Bentonville High School Boys Varsity Basketball team is an important part of Ruth Barker Middle School. Two years ago, Ms. Snow met with head coach, Richard Rippee to see how they could work together to create positive change in our students lives. The idea of lunch mentoring came up and we decided that this would be a great opportunity for the students. The players have volunteered their time one hour a week for the last two years to mentor a group of 6th grade students. Not only do they mentor a certain group of students, they also bring with them a positive and enthusiastic attitude for all students to see. Once the students are finished eating lunch, they focus on activities outside. The basketball court is one of the main areas you will see them. Communicating in an active way, forming bonds and being consistent has been amazing for the Barker students. The players have also branched out and tried new activities that are out of their comfort zone to learn more about the student they are mentoring. In doing this, they are connecting with their mentee and making a difference.
School-based mentoring improves attitudes about staying in school, gives an increased belonging in the school community, increases self-esteem, improves attendance, and overall self-value. There is a need for kids to have someone to talk to, other than parents, or guardians, who can be a role model.
A couple of comments from the Barker students were: “I like playing basketball with someone older than me. It helps me. School is better when they are here” and “They are cool guys. It is fun and we like to joke around together. I like basketball and they play with me.”
Common themes from the comments from the players/mentors were fun, enjoyable time, forming relationships and difference maker. One high school player recapped his experience with these words, “I like going to Barker because forming relationships with kids makes a huge difference in their life.”
Ms. Snow states that the players are wonderful examples of outstanding citizens. Ms. Snow included a quote from Oprah Winfrey to sum up the impact the players are making. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
Marisa Snow was nominated by Barker Middle School PTO. The PTO wrote, “Mrs. Snow is known for efforts to make sure all students at Barker Middle School have the support they need to thrive at school. She always goes above and beyond to take students under her wing, mentor them, and show them love and compassion.” Mrs. Snow works with organizations like Clothed with Compassion, Bright Futures and the DEB Project to make sure the needs of students are met. These relationships provide professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success for the students. They ended their nomination with these words, “Mrs. Snow is a shining example of positive influence and leadership in our community, and we are so glad to have the opportunity to nominate such a deserving individual for the Outstanding Citizen of the Quarter award.
The Outstanding Citizen Award program was initiated in January 2011 to recognize the exceptional volunteer contributions of Bentonville residents. There are three award categories: adult, youth and community group. Second quarter 2019 nominations will be accepted through June 30. To obtain a nomination form and additional information, please visit the City’s website at www.bentonvillear.com.