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Mentoring program seeks volunteers

by Linda Hiller

Do you have something to give to a young person in the community as a volunteer mentor?

The Douglas County School District and Teens With a Future are looking for community members interested in mentoring 5th through 12th students for a few hours a month.

The DCSD mentoring program is not new, but will receive a much-needed shot in the arm with the recent Teens With a Future partnership.

“We started the program four years ago, and I haven’t been able to devote enough time to maintain it, so we entered into an agreement with Teens With a Future to work together,” said Dori Draper, Douglas County School District program assistant for community service learning and student assisted programs.

Teens With a Future, in existence since February 1995, is a division of the non-profit Partnership of Community Resources.

n The value of mentoring. Draper said mentoring programs are taking place in many American communities, and the news is good so far for the program’s ultimate benefits to students.

“Mentoring studies have shown that if kids feel connected to an adult in the community, they will reduce at-risk behaviors,” she said. “The program is open to any child, though, we are only limited by the amount of mentors we get.”

Tish Sammon, project coordinator for Teens With a Future, said working cooperatively with the school district will make the mentoring program more effective in the long run.

“This program is good for those kids who may need an additional role model,” she said.

Volunteer mentors from the community will benefit from the relationship, too, Sammon said.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “Someone who truly cares about other people, especially kids, can give something to a mentee.”

Mentors will be asked to commit to one year of a minimum of 4 hours per month with a mentee, who can be a student ranging from 5th to 12th grade. Screening, including reference checks and fingerprinting, will be required of each mentor.

Sammon said prospective volunteers are invited to attend the first mentor training session on Wednesday, Jan. 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Partnership of Community Resources office, 1624 Library Lane, Suite C.

For more information, call Tish Sammon, 782-8611.

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