YouthFriends Corps Mentor Katherine Meinig has been inspiring students in the Paola School District for years and is preparing for future adventures as graduation approaches.
"Katherine has been a wonderful Corps volunteer for two years," said Carol Knoche, YouthFriends Coordinator for Paola. "We love having her in the classroom working with our students and their teacher."
Meinig volunteers with a third grade class every other day for about an hour and a half. She became involved with YouthFriends Corps because her older sister and brother were both involved for two years in high school. But she stays involved because she finds it fulfilling.
"I really like the activities you get to do with the kids," Meinig said. "I really like working with them. They make me laugh."
The students and their teacher enjoy working with her, too. "Katherine has been a tremendous asset to our classroom," Sunflower Elementary teacher Danny Stotler said. "She helps to create a positive learning environment by consistently modeling high expectations and actively engaging students. The kids all love to work with Ms. Meinig."
Meinig is proof that mentoring programs can inspire people to pursue their dreams. Besides being involved in YouthFriends while in high school, Meinig has also been an active member of the First Robotics program.
She is excited that her team qualified to attend a national competition in Atlanta this spring. The competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard kit of parts and common set of rules. In essence, the teams have six weeks to build robots.
Meinig is graduating in May and will be attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. She leaves for basic training June 26.
"I've always loved to fly," she said. "I've always felt the need to serve my country."
Her fascination with flying began during childhood vacations when she would get to see the cockpits of commercial airplanes. And just as pilots inspired Meinig in her youth, she, too is inspiring others.
Stotler said Meinig demonstrates flexibility when dealing with students and provides assistance to anyone in the school who needs help.
"She will be greatly missed when she graduates," Stotler said.
Read the full article on Meinig by downloading the Spring 2008 newsletter, page 1.
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