Carol Shipley honored as Stanislaus County Mentor of the Year for 2011.
I was hired by the District Attorney as a Deputy District Attorney on December 27, 1983. I started in the Family Support Division and transferred to the Criminal Division in 1985 and have been there ever since. I moved to Modesto when I was 9 years old and attended local schools including the newly built Beyer High School, Modesto Junior College and UC Davis. I graduated from California Western School of Law in 1982. The position which I found most rewarding and fulfilling was when I was assigned to Crimes Against Children. I was glad I could help children have a voice in the courtroom and bring some justice to their lives. This passion continued as I had my own children and started to coach their sports teams. I continue to participate in many of their activities in school including coaching a high school Mock Trial team.
When Norma Baker and Kristi Ameral presented Mentoring to the Modesto 500 Lions Club, Judge Begen and I were very eager to join the team. We have immensely enjoyed mentoring at Shackelford Elementary for the past four years. We look forward to learning about our student as well as helping them succeed in school and life. I am grateful to the County for starting this program that we have become a part of.
Melinda Pallotta honored as Site Coordinator of 2011.
I was born and raised in the Akron-Cleveland area of Ohio. I moved to Modesto with my family in 2006 after spending most of my adult life in New England. Even in my youth I was drawn to working with children. Highlights of my youth include planning fun activities when babysitting for neighbors (like finger-painting with chocolate pudding!); mentoring at my elementary school when inclement weather kept us indoors; and looking out for my little sister (despite her ornery streak which led her to do such things as place rubber tarantulas under my pillow!).
The highlights of my youth pale in comparison to the joy it is being a mom to my two sons – they are such blessings! In addition to parenting I volunteered at schools, the local youth center and at church. I have also worked as a substitute teacher, both back east (when my children were younger) and here in Modesto (before working for the County). I also worked with a team to conduct a summer camp in mainland China, where we taught English as a second language – truly an amazing experience!
I am currently working as a Contract Administrator and Supervisor for the Purchasing Division of Stanislaus County's General Services Agency. I have been working for the County since 2007, and have participated in the County's mentor program for the past three years. This year I am mentoring 2-3 children once a week at Franklin Elementary School. I help them with reading and other homework and, if nothing else, strive to help each child feel validated and appreciated. Mentoring is heartwarming – taking time to build friendships with each child, and watching them gain personal and academic confidence throughout the year.
I was so inspired by the mentor program that I volunteered to serve as the site coordinator for our General Services Agency. As a site coordinator I sought to increase awareness and interest in the mentor program. In addition to talking individually with co-workers I have made short presentations to other County departments, sharing my experience and encouraging others to participate. I believe my enthusiasm has been contagious and my efforts successful, as the number of County employee mentors have increased. If you are not among the ranks yet, please give this some serious thought. The thirty minutes you invest each week pays immeasurable dividends to both you and the children. Make a difference today!