Entries by Karen Kitchel

To Mentor A Prisoner

A couple of years ago, I saw a post about prisoners who wanted mentors. Without any exposure to the criminal justice system,  I wasn’t going to give it a second thought, so I don’t really know why I decided to go to an informational meeting.  Maybe it was because I had convinced myself that the next chapter of my life was going to involve delving into some slices of life of people who I otherwise would never have a chance to meet.

I had successfully added volunteer opportunities  to my weekly routine which involve Hispanic kindergartners, Somali refugees, underserved teens, and the homeless. So why not consider a prisoner as well?  I quickly learned about the high percentage of people who end up returning  to correctional facilities but also how that number dramatically drops for prisoners who have had a mentor.  I know that fear is often what prevents many …
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“One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

Maya Angelou, an American poet, singer and civil rights activist, said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If a student walks into a classroom and feels welcomed, they have a much greater likelihood of success simply because they know they are wanted which translates into being inspired to do well.

Claudia Cuddyer, of Chesapeake, Virginia has a fantastic reputation among the students she taught as evidenced by her words: “I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with some of my former students and follow their lives into adulthood. I think something that shaped me as a teacher was the fact that when I began teaching, I was only about 5-6 years older than my students. The things that they were going through, emotionally and educationally, were so fresh in my …
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Positive Voices: Radio Interview

I was honored to be asked to write two chapters of a recently published book “Millennials To Boomers — Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices.”  The topics I chose to write about were the Gift of Mentoring and the Gift of Adoption. You can purchase the book here.

On September 26 I did a live radio interview with author, Cynthia Brian to promote mentoring and scattering kindness. Listen below:


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Easy Ways To Scatter Kindness

If you asked most people if they want to scatter kindness, I believe you would hear a resounding “sure!”

If you need ideas on how to begin, here are a few simple ways to start scattering kindness.

Interrupt the ordinary

Think about the people who help you get life done (trash collector, mail delivery person, etc.) Interrupt them on an ordinary day with a bottle of sparkling water or candy bar and a “Thanks for what you do.”

Ice cream scattering

While at the grocery store, pick up a box of popsicles or ice cream bars and drop them off at a local shelter. All you have to say is “Enjoy!”

Pennies for wishes

Save up your pennies and spread them out near a fountain where kids will find them so they can make wishes.

Take the sting out of sorrow

Add to your calendar the birthday and anniversary dates …
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