Paula DeDoncker

1417 14th Street
Moline, IL 61265
P: 309-269-5994


A leader is defined as the person who leads or commands a group, while a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Given this, we can understand how while different, they often go hand in hand.


Mentors are often the silent majority. They are the person rarely seeking the limelight, yet always willing to lend an ear or a helping hand. They lead by their example and diligence.

Mentors are mindful of the newer members and without a second thought utilize the CARE concept:

  • Catch the member when they first join
  • Ask them to participate
  • Remember what it felt like to be new
  • Engage them in a program that fits them

If you see a new member that has recently joined your ranks, ask them to sit with you. The meeting may seem foreign to them, so sitting with a friendly face may make that first meeting less uncomfortable.

When projects are presented, ask them to be a part of things. Ask for their input. Who knows, with all the recent changes in technology, a new member may be able to offer guidance to make things more efficient.

Remember your first meeting. Were you anxious? Or did you have someone that recruited you, and invited you? Guess what? They were your mentor. 😊

Engage them in a program that you may think fits them, and ask for input.

Mentoring our new members will most likely enhance their experience, and encourage them to come back. New friendships can be made, and a mutual respect can be formed between newer members, and seasoned older members.

Given time, and having been properly mentored, these members will often go on to having such a boost in their confidence that they wish to move through our ranks.

Are you a mentor? Yes by virtue of reading through this program I believe you are. You are a vital and needed member of your Auxiliary and beyond. If you need help in your mentoring endeavors, please utilize the resources available on the National Auxiliary website. “Building on the VFW Auxiliary Foundation” is a great place to start.

Remember to report your mentoring activities, and share your experiences!


Leaders are often the result of great mentoring, and continued mentoring by trusted advisors.

Leadership can be difficult at any level, but surely made easier by following the guidelines set by past leaders, and sound organizational principles.

The “Podium Edition: Bylaws and Ritual”, and “Building on the VFW Auxiliary

Foundation” are both key resources to a successful leader in a VFW Auxiliary at any level.

As mentoring uses a “CARE” concept, leaders could perhaps use a “TEAMWORK” concept:

  • Take the time to communicate
  • Empower your members
  • Answer questions appropriately
  • Mentor
  • Work out future plans
  • Outsource tasks
  • Remember “why” you lead
  • Know your strengths & weaknesses

Taking the time to communicate with your members is imperative to maintaining successful leadership. Without hearing your voice, members can be left doubtful as to where they stand, or as to the overall health of the organization.

Empower your members to stay involved by accepting new thoughts and ideas. We all know that even though some methods are tried and true there may well be a more efficient way on the horizon.

Answering questions appropriately will give others a clearer idea of who you are. Listen to the question, and if it’s not something you want to hear? Well, you are still the leader, and looked to for sound and rational answers and guidance. If a decision you have made is being questioned, thoughtful answers will reach a greater audience than defensiveness.

Mentoring your peers that will follow in your leadership role is one of the standards by which your leadership will be remembered. Your decisions will be carefully weighed by those following you, so always take enough time to weigh out all options to better serve the Auxiliary now, and in the future.

Work out future plans to avoid unnecessary confusion. Make sure during times of uncertainty you have a plan “B” on the back burner.

Outsource tasks that may fall outside of your proverbial box. Leaders are frequently known to try and “take on the world” but essentially don’t really need to. You have a team.

Remembering “why” we lead is sometimes difficult. The glare of the limelight gets in our eyes and we sometimes lose focus. Think of the veteran that led you to your position and ask yourself if the way you’re fulfilling your role is honoring them.

Lastly, know your individual strengths and weaknesses. Remember no one is perfect, but acknowledging our weaknesses is also an example of strength.

Keep in mind your mentors and peers are always there to guide you, as is the VFW National Auxiliary website, wrought with tremendous resources



Auxiliary Awards

An Award to the Auxiliary Chairman with the best presentation of the Mentoring Program. Report due to Department Chairman within 60 days of presentation.

An Award to the Auxiliary member fulfilling the role of leader/mentor within their Auxiliary.

A Citation to Auxiliaries reported by Jan 1st, 2022.

District Awards

An Award to the District Chairman with the best presentation of the Mentoring Program. Report due to Department Chairman within 60 days of presentation.




We have provided a place here for you to download all of the information that we distribute to you through our Program Book and Bi-Monthly Chairmen’s Bulletins.  You will need Adobe Reader, it is a Free program and can be downloaded here  Get Adobe


2021-2022 Department Mentoring for Leadership

2021-2022 Department Mentoring Form (Click Here for Online Report)

2021-2022 National Chief of Staff and Mentoring 

VFW Auxiliary Mentoring Guide: Relationship Building for the Future

VFW Auxiliary Acronyms and Common Terminology

Welcome to the VFW Auxiliary Card Front Option 1 (Printable Template)

Welcome to the VFW Auxiliary Card Front Option 2 (Printable Template)

Welcome to the VFW Auxiliary Card Back (Printable Template)