Winners of the #LivingTheExample Contest do the Unexpected with their Prize….

By Kelly Eigler, Vice President of Operations & Development

27 July 2016 | News

As part of the national reach of Mentor’s Living the Example campaign, students from the three high schools in Columbia County, NY were invited to enter a friendly competition to see which school could spread the message through social media postings (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and garner the most activity during the school year.  The students from Ichabod Crane were the winners and won a limo trip, dinner and money for a group activity such as a movie or mini golf.

But it turns out that they did something creative with their winnings instead.

As reported by Maureen Sgambelluri, the students’ chaperone…

“The students had an amazing time last night! They showed amazing character and kindness. They ate dinner at P.F Chang’s and had a feast.

During the dinner we were going to see how much money was left over and decide what to do. I put ideas out there such as mini golf, going to the Fun Plex (a games arcade), bowling, going to Dave and Buster’s arcade etc.

They stewed over the ideas, then came up with their own which caught me off guard.

“Can we donate it?” they asked. 

I asked what they had in mind.

They threw out ideas such as buying food and delivering it to a food pantry, donating it to a homeless shelter etc. Then they decided to do a random act of kindness instead. They chose to forgo their own personal entertainment.

They scoped out the restaurant and chose two separate tables which both had a family of 4 (2 parents and 2 kids). They secretly paid the bill for both families and asked the waiter to give the families a note with their bill.

The note simply stated “You have a beautiful family. I hope you enjoy your evening. Love, The Ichabod Crane Youth Ambassadors”.

I asked the students if they wanted to hang around to see their reactions, they thought about it and decided they would leave, it was not about their own gratification.

I have never been more proud of my students before. They did everything very low key and wanted no attention drawn to themselves. I however wanted to share such a heartfelt gesture.

Thank you for giving them this opportunity, and allowing me to see them in a whole new light. I knew they were all great kids to begin with, but this made me admire them even more.

Kindest regards, 


As a staff person here at Mentor, I feel this eye-witness account demonstrates the positive effect that Mentoring programs can have on young people, and the multiplier effect that ‘Youth Ambassadors’ can have on not only their peers but also their larger community.