Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wild Pack

On November 3rd, the Zoo-Mates were re-united for the first time. The UC volunteer mentors were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their Zoo-Mates, for another fun filled adventure. The mentor-mentee matches met in the Harold C. Schott Education Center. After a brief introduction, the Zoo-Mates were let loose to enjoy the wonders of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The matches were charged with one important objective: to determine whether primates are right or left handed! During this scientific exploration of the Zoo: "Students...think about their hand preference. Using inquiry and a variety of tools, they...discover whether the Zoo’s primates are right handed or left handed..."

We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather and the Zoo-Mates pairs really got to spend some great quality time with each other, in a a truly wonderful place!

Monday, November 15, 2010


The very greatest celebration there has ever been for Zoo-Mates mentor and mentee pairs, otherwise known as the ZOO-BRATION! was our third event of the year.

Mentors arrived early, poised to meet the Bond Hill students they had met the week before, but there was something special about this meeting...The families of the Zoo-Mates were invited to attend, and Zoo-Mates mentor/mentee matches would be revealed for the first time!

Zoo-Mates young and old enjoyed a fantastic meal, catered by City Barbeque. Families got the chance to meet the UC student that would mentor their child for the rest of the year. Then it was on to the main event, pumpkin painting! Zoo-Mates worked together painting pumpkins with wildy vivid colors and imaginative designs--just in time for Halloween weekend.

The pumpkins turned out great, and the memories even better. Zoo-Mates had a fun night to begin to build the bonds that will allow everyone involved in the program, mentor and mentee alike, to grow as people.

The seeds of friendship had been sewn. A few pumpkins were delivered the next day to Bond Hill Academy, and the gracious secretaries and principal were kind enough to coordinate the distribution of this marvelous harvest of art.

Special thanks to City Barbeque, and the admininstrators at Bond Hill for helping make this event a success!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zoo-Mates Second Event!

Now its time to get some children involved!

Zoo-Mates had its second event of the 2010-2011 program year at the mentees' school, Bond Hill Academy. This event was a laid back Meet & Great that gave the mentors a chance to meet the mentees, to see the school they go to everyday, and to have some fun!

The day started with introductions, and some super fun games including "Ninja!" Look for the championship Ninja game to be posted on the blog soon!

The next activity was for Zoo-Mates young and old to create their personal trail mix! After deciding which favorite snacks in what proportions should be all mixed up, Zoo-Mates enjoyed their own concoctions of healthy yet delicious trail mix.

Then it was on to more games! The mentees played board games and card games with the mentors to get to know one another. New friendships had been forged, and we were all delighted to have been addressed by the Principal of Bond Hill Academy, who gave some inspirational words to all the Zoo-Mates!

Sadly, after the last round of games it was time to say goodbye, til next week!

It was a great afternoon and another successful Zoo-Mates adventure!

Zoo-Mates 2010-2011

Hello there Zoo-Mates Fans!

Welcome to Zoo-Mates 2010-2011!

The first event was a mentor training, held October 13th at the Cincinnati Zoo in the Leaf Cutter Ant and Dart Frog rooms of the Education Center. New Zoo-Mates mentors got a chance to hear from David Rosenthal about the exciting digital photography project the Zoo-Mates will be working on throughout the year. The photo project is part of Prairie and will give mentors and their Zoo-Mates a way to connect through the creative process.

Zoo-Mates also got to go on a thought experiment lead by Pat Reiber of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, who also informed mentors of the possibility of continuing their relationship with their Zoo-Mate after the program year has concluded.

Then it was on to everyone favorite Ice Breakers, during which Zoo-Mates mentors got a chance to get to know one another, and practice one of the key aspects of Zoo-Mates: having fun!

Mentors were introduced to the issues surrounding homelessness, and children experiencing homelessness by Project Connect. They then were able to interactively explore their own understanding of homelessness, and work together to figure out what talents and assets they brought to the program to make a positive impact on Zoo-Mates.

Finally, mentors learned best practices, and returning Zoo-Mates shared their insights from past experience working with children through the program.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer updates

TrueHero.org: The results will not be official until August, but initial results look good for Zoo-Mates. Keep checking the blog for official results. If you voted, you will get an email from True Hero once results are in!

In the meantime, beat the summer heat by checking out Project Connect/Faces Without Places Youtube channel.

Here's a video from a Zoo-Mates activity:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two days left to vote!

There are only two days left to vote for Zoo-Mates at Truehero.org.

Zoo-Mates needs about 70 votes to be awarded money for next year's programming. If you haven't voted yet, please vote. If  you have already voted, please pass along this information to friends, family, co-workers, anyone!

Helpful information to forward:

We'd like to ask you to support one of our signature mentoring programs through the UC Center for Community Engagement called Zoo-Mates.  If you’re not already familiar, Zoo-Mates is a group mentoring program that pairs 30 UC students with 30 students from Cincinnati Public Schools who are currently experiencing homelessness. A large portion of our funding comes from a voting contest on TrueHero.org where the “Top 8 College Projects” (vote-getters) are awarded project support grants.

Please read about the program and vote here: http://truehero.org/projects/index.cfm?id=242.  It takes less than 1 minute; simply type your email address, submit, and validate your address in the confirmation email.  For further information about Zoo-Mates, check out our website.

Don’t feel motivated to click the link, yet?
Read the stats below to learn about issues that Zoo-Mates helps to address:
•  Children account for the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.
•  The average age of a homeless person is only 9 years old.
•  Families comprise 40% of the homeless population.
•  Children experiencing homelessness change schools 7-8 times per year.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zoo-Mates Celebration!

Wednesday was the last Wednesday of Zoo-Mates this year. Mentors and mentees participated in lots of activities to celebrate a great year.

The day began with a trip to the Chipotle on West Clifton Avenue by the University of Cincinnati. The restaurant treated mentors and mentees to a burrito dinner.

Mentors waiting for the bus to arrive.

Tons of burritos!
The mentees arrive at Chipotle.

Chipotle didn't flinch as we filled their restaurant.

Thanks Chipotle! The burritos were delicious!

After filling up on burritos, mentors and mentees went to University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center for rock climbing, face painting and some games!

A big thanks to our mentors and mentees, the University of Cincinnati Center for Community Engagement, Project Connect and teachers from Hays/Porter Elementary for making Zoo-Mates such a success!

Check the Zoo-Mates blog throughout the summer for more pictures, videos and the results of the TrueHero.org voting contest. If you haven't voted yet, click here to vote for Zoo-Mates!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kickball and coloring

Zoo-Mates is really winding down. Mentors and mentees met at Hays/Porter yesterday for their last activity with Happen, Inc. and some kickball in the gym. Zoo-Mates didn't let the rainy weather spoil the day. There were smiles and laughs all around!

Thank you, again, to Happen, Inc. for teaching us so much every month!

Mentors and mentees created under-the-sea adventures.

The other group played an intense kickball game.

Waiting to kick.

Zoo-Mates will meet for the final Wednesday of the year at the University of Cincinnati campus. We'll play some games and eat some great food!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last day at the zoo

Zoo-Mates met at the zoo for the final time of the school year. The weather was perfect for exploring new parts of the zoo and revisiting favorite animals. Mentors and mentees got the treat of riding both the train and the carousel. We also were able to see the Cincinnati Zoo's latest attraction, Zoo Babies!

A mentee gets a ride to the train.

Lucy, our fantastic zoo liason!

Mentor and mentee hanging out on the carousel.

Smiling for the camera.

Don't jump off!

Mentors and mentees took a trip around the zoo to see
animal babies born in the last few months.

We've had learned a ton and had so much fun at the Cincinnati Zoo. A big thanks to the Education Department and Lucy for teaching and guiding us through the zoo.

There are two more weeks left in Zoo-Mates. We'll be at Hays/Porter next week and finish at the University of Cincinnati!