April 28, 2020
Dear Friends,

We have every reason to be hopeful.

As news reports and press conferences fill our phones and TVs, as days grow into weeks and weeks into months, and as our communities rally around new normals, we remain steadfast. We remain steadfast to our mission to transform the Miami Valley from a battleground to a playground. We remain steadfast in our pursuit to help caring adults invest in the lives of today's youth. And we remain steadfast to our goal for a hopeful, flourishing future for the Miami Valley. 

We're living in a time of new normals. But our normal has always been hope. 
Here are a few reasons why we remain hopeful!
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What does it look like when hope knows no quarantine?

It looks like working hard to develop new initiatives and creative ways to pivot our programming to help our mentoring and community-engagement momentum continue.

Recently, MVLF has had two incredible opportunities to share with our community at large how we're embodying the truth that hope knows no quarantine with our volunteers and partners.

We invite you to enjoy and share the following stories covered by Dayton 24/7Now News: 

Miami Valley Adapting Despite COVID-19

Hope4Miamisburg Helping Distribute Food to Local Children

Share these news stories with your communities to spread the word!
Receiving a letter addressed to you: nothing feels quite like it. Whether it's a card or a small note (and not a bill!), each letter reminds us someone knows our name, and they took the time to find us where we are.  

That moment, of feeling known and remembered, has happened fifty times from fifty letters written by MVLF mentors to their mentees. Fifty envelopes have carried the names of youth in our communities. Fifty letters have arrived to students figuring out online school, carrying a written encounter with the investment of a caring adult. Fifty reminders of hope have been found in mailboxes throughout the Miami Valley. All because of our mentors.  

Over the past month, MVLF mentors have written letters to students in our school-based mentoring program. Mentors have asked their mentees about school, offered words of encouragement, and given them reminders to continue working hard. We love knowing that fifty students, navigating school and life at home, have received these beautiful reminders that hope will always find them where they are. 

And more letters continue to be sent. If you haven't had a chance to write to your mentee, or if you'd like to write a mentee again, we'd love to send those letters for you.

With schools now remaining online until the end of the school year, we invite you to write as often as you'd like.

Here's how: Download this MVLF-letter template and choose one of the following options for writing and sending your letter:
Note: ALL letters must be mailed by Miami Valley Leadership Foundation due to program policies and expectations. Miami Valley Leadership Foundation will not offer student addresses.

If you'd like the possibility of being written back to from a student, please indicate that in your email to Shannon.
Email Shannon
Over the past month, it has been easy to feel the physical imperative of social distancing morph into the emotional fragility of social disconnecting. Many of us can wrestle with feeling inert--even stuck--wondering how to contribute to our communities and connect with our neighbors. These have not been easy times, and we know our mentors and volunteers have sought to navigate the social-distancing's difficulties, particularly how to connect deeply with their mentees. To help mentors navigate these times, Shannon Todd, MVLF's Mentoring Program Director, scheduled online check-ins with MVLF mentors, providing a time for them to catch up and hear about life and MVLF's happenings.

Since April 17, nearly forty MVLF mentors have connected with Shannon and each other through an online check-in. And within moments of each check-in, a time to catch up deepened into opportunities to invest in one another. Despite the physical distance between them, the synergy and unity among the mentors was almost palpable. 

Mentors encouraged each other through the difficulties of not seeing their mentees, missing face-to-face interactions with them during lunches or while playing a game. Mentors extended connection and camaraderie to each other, reminding one another of MVLF's foundation and its pursuits in the Miami Valley. What began as an online check-in with MVLF mentors transformed into a time of mentors mentoring one another.

As one mentor shared, "It was so good to connect this morning. It filled my heart with joy to share with the others." 

During each check-in, Shannon also introduced and explained a new online endeavor to help MVLF mentors connect with their mentees: E-mentoring, online mentoring through e-mail. We're eager to share more about this in next month's newsletter.

Letter writing, online check-ins, and E-mentoring: these are some of the ways MVLF is practicing the reality that hope knows no quarantine.
A local MVLF partner, Dayton Whiz Kids has worked hard to overcome the limits of social distancing to continue serving youth in their community. A program offered by Community Methodist Church in Riverside, Whiz Kids (and its middle-school counterpart, Unplugged) offers after-school mentoring and Bible study for elementary-school students. As life shifted to online in March, Whiz Kids mentors asked themselves how they can continue to connect with their young students. Well, where is the best place to connect with kids online? YouTube. 

During this time of at-home everything, Whiz Kids mentors post videos offering resources to both children and parents. Each video offers their viewers something different each time: crafts, at-home learning activities, devotionals, and Bible studies.
Young students in Riverside continue to know the investment of caring adults because of the creativity and commitment of MVLF partners like Whiz Kids.
Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 19-25) to our volunteers who serve and sacrifice to ensure today's students become tomorrow's leaders in the Miami Valley. 

As much as we celebrate our volunteers this week, we're grateful for them EVERY week. 

Our volunteers empower and enable our mission to love the Miami Valley and its surrounding communities. 

Thank you for serving alongside the Miami Valley Leadership Foundation and its partners. 
The MVLF Team
Miami Valley Leadership Foundation
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Dayton, Ohio 45404

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