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.