Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
Volunteer mentor made a difference to the life of youth
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Volunteers like John Sobota, are critically important to the lives of the children and youth we serve."
- Melantha Bain
"John Sobota has been an exceptionally faithful and supportive role model and friend to Adam," said program supervisor Melantha Bain, who presented the award.
"Adam's view of the world, his confidence and self-esteem has blossomed under John's guidance and support.
"More importantly though, Adam feels that he can share his hopes, dreams and concerns with John and be heard, understood and respected. As Aristotle said, 'True friends are a sure refuge.'"
Sobota, 44, said he became involved with Adam because he wanted to put his faith into action.
"I wanted to do something in my faith that was real action," he said following the award ceremony. "Between the ages of 30 and 33, Jesus did so many things one-on-one with people and I think that's what our faith should be about - helping people one-on-one."
In an interview Sobota, a father of two who attends St. Agnes Parish "sporadically," said he was happy to be recognized for his volunteer service.
"The benefit I get from doing this is a lasting good feeling unlike any other," he said. "To be recognized like this is a real grace."
"I wanted to do something in my faith that was real action."
- John Sobota
Adam has improved a lot since Sobota began mentoring him. "When I started to volunteer with him he was not able to go home very much and now he is able to go home a lot more, which is one of the goals that we set," Sobota explained. "He really wants to transition back into living at home."
Added Sobota, "I think he maybe needed a role model who was strong but who showed him that being respectful of people and laws and rules is actually a stronger way to be than if you rebel against them."
Bain, the program supervisor, said the influence of a positive, caring role model in the life of a young person is of immeasurable value.
"Volunteers like John Sobota, are critically important to the lives of the children and youth we serve," she said prior to presenting the award to Sobota. "Adam has told the staff at the 71st Street residence, 'If I had not met John my life would not have been as great as it is. John is awesome.'"
Others who received Outstanding Service Awards at the meeting are Debbie Hart, Robert Kaasa, Denise Hermary and Debbie Radke.
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