This past fall, ODOT SRTS launched the New Coordinator Mentorship Program. This program pairs new coordinators with experienced SRTS mentors, who give them personalized advice and support, and cheer them on as they embark on their first year of Safe Routes activities.
To kick off this program, Sarah Mazze (Eugene 4J) volunteered to mentor new coordinator Beth Schmidt (Salem-Keizer SD). The two are working together to help Schmidt succeed in her new role.
Mazze explained that being a mentor is rewarding work. “It’s a pleasure to work with Beth and help her troubleshoot the challenges of being a Safe Routes to School Coordinator and experience all the excitement of the possibilities that go along with a new program.”
The two recently met up at Mazze’s afterschool enrichment bike event, where Mazze showed Schmidt some of her programming and the two set goals for Schmidt’s first year.
“I think the greatest thing Sarah helped me to realize is that it is important to keep asking questions and learning,” said Schmidt. “It is rather freeing to have someone give you that permission when you are new and just trying to take it all in. You are going to make mistakes, you are going to fail, but it is all part of the learning process.”
Collaborating with other coordinators and practitioners in SRTS work is important to help even experienced coordinators continue to innovate on their work. Mazze commented “I always find it comforting to connect with someone else in this role, no matter their level of experience, because we share a vision and focus that is typically unique amongst our day-to-day contacts with colleagues, as most of us don’t work with any or many other people in the same role.
Thank you to Sarah Mazze and Beth Schmidt for kicking off this program!
Interested in becoming a mentor? You can submit your interest here. If you are a new coordinator or practitioner and would like to be paired with a mentor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website to learn more.