Mentors credit those they've served



Larry Messina sees his nomination as Mentor of the Year not as a accolade for himself, but recognition for the person he mentored.

"He's the one that made our team successful. It's recognition of his efforts," Messina said.

A year ago, the 63-year-old commercial real estate agent had attended a seminar where he heard Ruth Gordon, director of the Mentor Center of Western Nevada, speak about the need for mentors. Messina decided to give it a shot.

In his first pairing, Gordon explained in the nomination letter on Messina's behalf, he was given a choice between two children. One of the boys was in the program because of an illness his mother had. The other boy was the son of a woman whose battle with methamphetamine was covered in a series of stories by the Nevada Appeal. The mother was ultimately sent to prison for theft.

Messina picked the second boy as his mentee, and over the course of a year the two have developed a remarkable friendship, said Gordon

The boys grades, which were Fs when Messina came into the picture, are now As and Bs, Messina said.

The child is no longer on juvenile probation and he's taken up the sport of golf, Messina's past time.

"I feel the most outstanding circumstance in this match is that fact that when Larry and I first spoke about (the boy), (Messina) didn't even hesitate to meet him," Gordon wrote in her nomination letter. "The fact that he was going to be meeting a young man who had a very difficult story, did not even faze him."

Messina and his wife, Susie, raised four children of their own. The couple lives in Carson City.

Rosetta McFadden

In 1964, Oregon schoolteacher Rosetta McFadden and her husband, Don, moved to Carson City.

Wanting to stay home with her daughter Malah they opened up Kinderland Nursery School with three students enrolled.

"When we had seven children enrolled, I'd thought I'd made it," said McFadden.

Three decades later, the school has 100 students enrolled and has taught thousands of children more than just the ABCs.

"The content of her teaching is filled with character-building ideas and (are) very imaginative. She naturally brings out the best in each child by having them participate and feel a part of every lesson," said Wanda Martin, who nominated McFadden as Mentor of the Year.

McFadden, 78, said she was surprised to hear of the nomination.

"When you think of Community Awards, you think of someone out there in the community," she said. "I'm not out there in the community that much."

Martin, however, believed McFadden has what it takes to be considered a mentor.

"She teaches moral values and personal responsibility, which is so valuable to the character of a person," Martin said.

McFadden is still involved in her nursery, along with her now-grown daughter Malah, who's worked there since she was 16.

Dealing with children every day comes naturally to McFadden.

"I think it's been something that I've wanted to do all my life. Even as a child I wanted to teach. I just enjoy it," she said.


Mentor of the Year nominee Leticia Servin has made an impact on the Latino community, according to Nevada State Museum Curator Deborah Stevenson.

"Leticia serves as one of the principle leaders of the Carson City Latino community, working tirelessly to promote a safe environment for youth and to preserve her cultural heritage," said Stevenson.

Servin is involved in the Latino Parents Committee, Day of the Child, Day of the Dead and a number of Latino children's programs.

"Her efforts result in successful, well-attended events that bridge cultural differences and bring together diverse segments of the Carson community," said Stevenson. "Her family programs discourage youth from joining gangs by offering healthy alternatives."

Stevenson said Servin's efforts cultivate parental support for youth activities that bring families together in a positive way.

"Leticia is an inspiration to me and to so many others - a community treasure," said Stevenson.


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