February 8, 2005 , Morristown, NJ , Bonny O'Mullane, a Mountain Lakes resident for over 11 years, was honored on January 19, 2005 at the Morris Museum by JoAnn Tsonton of United Way of Morris County's Mentor Training and Consulting Center.
was cited for her
outstanding work and dedication as a volunteer and mentor with Roots & Wings Foundation
, which provides support for abused and neglected youth.Ms. O'Mullane, who leads parenting and communication courses and works as a Certified Professional Life Coach, is one of the founders of Roots & Wings Foundation and has volunteered as a supervisor of their mentoring program since its inception in 2000.Roots & Wings
provides nurturing personal attention and practical life skills for teenagers who have "aged out" of the child welfare system and who lack the safety net of family connections and support.In addition to mentoring, Roots & Wings
provides housing options, health care and education direction to help these teens transition into adulthood and independent living.
"The mentoring piece is key to our success, "says O'Mullane
.Each teenager is paired with a trained, skilled mentor who provides encouragement and direction as well as stability and consistency."These kids have been through so much," explained O'Mullane
."Almost every adult in their lives has disappeared when the going got tough.It takes a long time to earn their trust, but the one thing these kids come to know is that our mentors will be here for them, no matter what."
Early in 2000, United Way of Morris County's Mentor Training and Consulting Center
trained a group of prospective mentors for Roots & Wings
was at the session.Her
belief in the mission of Roots & Wings
to develop and supervise its mentoring program.
Whenever Ms. O'Mullane
faced the problem of too many clients and not enough mentors she
stepped into the mentor role herself, providing support and becoming an empathetic friend."The kids are my heroes; they are really remarkable," O'Mullane
explains."They are survivors of an unbelievably tough system and have achieved so much considering their backgrounds.While it isn't always smooth sailing, I believe in every single one of them."
Ms. Tsonton noted, "Bonny
was honored not just for the volunteer mentoring she has provided to so many young people but also for seeing the gap
these kids faced and for filling that gap with Roots & Wings