Tag Archives: mentoring

Reason #26: Sarah gets to inspire TEEP students through her love of literature

My favorite role at Trinity Church these days is “Latin tutor” and writing instructor at the TEEP program.  I get to come to Trinity after teaching Art classes near Harrison Ave/Boston Medical Center, and the No. 9 bus drops me right off near the Church’s doors. There’s always lively bustling energy at 4:00pm around Copley Square and in Trinity’s vestibule:  the students start arriving, full of energy and ready to tackle those “tougher” subjects like Chemistry, SAT Math, and of course LATIN.  Choristers can be heard on the floors singing.  And yes, it is warm! Inside those massive doors….lo, there is Ken, Front Desk Central, with special greetings for all! Truly the place to be.

Tuesdays I am often helping a TEEP student with writing or vocabulary, or sometimes a few sticky arithmetic problems.  Maybe it’s a special day: pasta dinner and conversation about 8th grade admissions essays.  Wednesdays, I can be found with TEEP juniors and seniors reviewing their writing as they wrestle with the themes of Virgil’s AENEID.

All those literary memories come rushing back to mind: oh Queen Dido!  so in love with Aeneas that her Capital Campaign fundraising has halted and “the cranes stand idle” in building her Carthage stronghold.  But what of Aeneas’ destiny to found Rome? “Tell him to SAIL!” says mighty Jupiter.

It is a joy to find a way to share my enthusiasm for literature and writing, whether it is  investigating a puzzling text,  wrestling for the “exact” words,  for “look it up!” energy, or just listening to students organizing their thoughts for the “admissions essay” due at the end of term.

Each week I am reminded that I am part of a church that is IN the City of Boston.  Right in the midst of it. And yet thankfully, I have a sanctuary and quiet spot to sit and focus on writing with my students.

Thanks for all the support that makes it possible ….

Sara “Latin Teacher” Hamlen


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Reason #23: Janet and Jay invested in Darlene . . . now she’s on their Christmas card.

Every year since we were married in 2005, Janet and I create a Christmas card from photographs we’ve taken during the preceding 12 months. It’s actually an oversized postcard, which this year contains a record 23 photos. The one in the upper right-hand corner is of a teenager in high school graduation garb with a big smile on her face. The caption on the reverse reads: “Darlene, proud graduate of Brockton High and Trinity Church’s TEEP program.”

We met Darlene in October of her senior year, at a time when she was juggling her regular academic and extra-curricular activities, her responsibilities as a TEEP mentor to younger students, a part-time job for pay, plus the challenging task of selecting and eventually applying to eleven schools.  Paul Bowen, TEEP’s energetic director recruited us to help with the nitty-gritty of her college application process. Although our enthusiasm for TEEP’s mission and our financial support of the Foundation had been growing over the past several years, it wasn’t until we had the opportunity to work with Darlene that we really got excited about the program.

Most of our work was an extended conversation, in person and by e-mail, with Darlene about the principal essay – the iconic “Common App” – she was writing in support of multiple applications. It took me a while to get the hang of being a patient and supportive “editor,” and there were times when Janet had to restrain me from becoming a ghost writer. But judging by the result, our efforts, and most importantly, Darlene’s paid off in a big way when she was accepted at UMass Amherst as a member of the class of 2014.

With Paul’s help and encouragement, we’ve now “re-upped” to work with twin sisters who are now juniors at Boston Latin Academy, a public exam school in Roxbury designated a National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education this fall. It’s an exciting prospect to be helping Alex and Lani on their path to becoming college graduates in June, 2016.

If you’ve become even a tiny bit excited or interested in our TEEP volunteer experience, we’d be glad to speak with you. Paul and Louise are also willing and able to deepen your understanding of this wonderful program. In the meantime, if you’re looking for opportunities to make a big difference in the lives of young people in the city of Boston, make a charitable contribution to the Trinity Boston Foundation in support of the TEEP program before year-end.

Jay Cushman and Janet Shipman

Reason #7: Getting to the Right High School Makes All the Difference

Tonight was the final night of TEEP’s High School Admissions course, a 12-week program that guides students and parents through the process of applying to and choosing the best possible high school. In the 11 years of TEEP, we have come to realize that the right high school is essential for keeping our students on track for college.

But the process of applying to high school can be bewildering, especially to parents for whom English is not their first language. Each different type of public high school (public exam, public pilot, public charter, and district high schools) have a separate application process and admission requirements. Then there are parochial and independent schools to consider as well as the terrific program, Beacon Academy, which offers students an opportunity for an extra year of academic and cultural preparation for the rigors of an independent school.

Over the course of 12 weeks, TEEP educates our 8th grade students and parents about their options and application process while working to make sure all students end up in the right place. Experienced volunteers are also matched with families as mentors through the entire process.

Students apply to 7-10 schools and last night, at the close of the last class, students and parents walked together with their mentors to drop all of their applications in the mailbox on Boylston Street. Says TEEP’s Founding Director Paul Bowen,  “This is our favorite moment of the course.”

Will you celebrate the accomplishments of our 8th graders by making a gift today? Thank you!