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Lanell Mantey is Victoria Business and Education Coalition's new executive director

By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Aug. 30, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.

Lanell Mantey

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For more information about the Victoria Business and Education Coalition, call 361-572-8232 or visit www.surebetvictoria.com.

VBEC mentor appreciation dinner

FROM NEWS RELEASEThe Victoria Business and Education Coalition will host a mentor appreciation dinner 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at the University of Houston Multi-Purpose Room, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

The event is a chance to honor current mentors, welcome new ones and to celebrate the school year.

Mentors are asked to donate 30 minutes a week to assist a student in math or reading. They can select the school from a list of participating campuses and the time they are available throughout the school day.

To reserve a seat, call 361-572-8232 by Monday.

In early August, Lanell Mantey joined the Victoria Business and Education Coalition as its executive director.

The organization, which began in 2002, encourages the community to get involved in education through mentorship opportunities and offers programs to educate students about the working world, leadership skills and more.

The Advocate sat down with Mantey to discuss her new position, the organization and what changes are coming in the future.

Q: What is your career background?

A: I came from an educational background, teaching special education in the Victoria school district for 10 years. Then I worked with the American Red Cross Crossroads Chapter for a short time, until they restructured and I lost my position. I began with VBEC on Aug. 1.

Q: How did you get involved in nonprofits?

A: When I taught, I received grants for a sensory motor lab I created and after starting up a science club, I received another grant to help bring back science education. I began an intramural middle school soccer team, too, and realized I really liked the nonprofit world.

Q: How does it feel to take on this new role?

A: It's very exciting. It's rejuvenated my spirit, as far as being back in the classroom. Teachers today are overwhelmed with responsibility and I think that, coming from the educational world, I understand that. I hope we can help.

Q: What is the Victoria Business and Education Coalition?

A: VBEC's mission is to collaborate within the citizens of the community to help enhance education. We're basically saying, "We care." We run a mentoring program, a youth leadership conference and even Business Cents classes that help students with things like resume writing and how to act during an interview.

Q: Will the organization see any changes in the future?

A: We're already in a new office with a new staff, but there will be other simple changes. We're working to get a link on the Victoria school district website for newcomers who would like to mentor. We're also thinking about expanding our leadership conference to other communities and are working on new fundraising events. We want to do things that get everybody involved.

Q: How can people get involved with VBEC?

A: We're always looking for mentors and volunteers. I've been talking with corporations. If they can give just one or two employees to help us mentor, it makes a big difference. They can also support the organization financially. It's however they want to participate. We appreciate any little bit.

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