For Immediate Release:
Congratulations to Kaitana Martinez and Sarah Bennett, Dartmouth College Seniors, recipients of Find The Courage’s Community Leadership Award and $1000 scholarship in 2016.
When Kaitana Martinez was a freshman at Dartmouth College she began volunteering with Find The Courage (FTC). On numerous occasions she visited a local third grade with FTC’s Co-Founders to help teach Find The Courage lessons. From day one her genuine kindness and belief in standing up for others was evident. The children and teachers of White River School (White River, VT) gravitated towards “KT,” and FTC quickly knew it had a competent and committed superstar college leader.
Heading into sophomore year, KT gathered a group of college students to help her visit classrooms to continue inspiring students. She brought on board dynamic college volunteers, Adam Frank (Dartmouth Baseball) and Sarah Bennett (Dartmouth Cross Country and Track). Together the three student-athletes impacted classrooms at the elementary, middle and high school level. Heading into junior year, KT and Sarah volunteered to enhance their role, and became Find The Courage co-leaders, teaching the 5-lesson program at White River School, with the support and assistance of White River Counselor, Susan Flanagan. Sarah quickly stepped up in her role to help coordinate travel, visits to the school, and effortlessly taught the program.
Susan Flanagan, was continuously impressed with Sarah and KT’s ability to communicate the message to her students. “Our students really do get the message that is shared with them. I hear them afterwards using the terminology and applying the message in other settings. It is a wonderful experience for our kids to have the older students coming and teaching them.”
As Sarah and KT headed into their senior year, another local school, Thetford Elementary School, contacted Find The Courage to learn more about running FTC. Sarah and KT were quick to say they would be willing to volunteer at two schools. This was particularly impressive considering both of them were on pre-med tracks at Dartmouth, and Sarah was competing as a senior on the cross country and track team. Understanding what they had built, and wanting Find The Courage to continue after they graduated, they gathered a very strong and committed group of underclassmen volunteers to train in the FTC program. In the spring, the FTC College Mentor Group ran the program at both Thetford Elementary School and White River School. Sarah and KT ran the lessons, with the support of their underclassmen volunteers and on-site school counselor liasons. Sarah and KT worked with Find The Courage to coordinate and run over 15 Find The Courage classes between the two schools!
As the day approached for Sarah and KT’s final lesson at White River School, Susan Flanagan gathered the entire elementary school on the steps outside White River School. There, each child who had been privy to their efforts of running the program over four years, posed for a group picture that each child would end up signing to say thank you to Sarah and KT’s commitment. Susan, who empowered both of the FTC leaders to blossom, shared, “They are amazing. It truly has been a pleasure working with Sarah and KT. I will miss their enthusiasm, leadership and how they inspire my students. They have impacted our entire school over so many years.”
The Find The Courage Community Leadership Award is awarded to a student
who has demonstrated excellent leadership as both a participant and a mentor in
the FTC program. This person embodies enthusiasm, creativity and thoughtfulness
while participating in the program. As a mentor, this person dedicates consistent
and countless hours of free time to inspire younger students to be kind, inclusive,
encouraging, compassionate, respectful and resilient. This person also works well
with staff members to help implement and spread the program throughout the
school. The FTC Community Leadership award is not for someone who is perfect,
but rather for someone who has the courage to care, to put him or herself out there,
and make his or her best effort to inspire others to take care of each other..