February 2014

Mentoring? What?

Attributions: 
Written by Haven Johnansen

For 6 years, the mentoring program has helped struggling students gain better understanding of their educational and social skills. “It gives students a role model,”  says Janna Manookin, who is in charge of the program and was kind enough to give some inside information on how it all works.

The mentoring program is school based. Each at-risk student is matched to a trained volunteer, and once a week they spend 1 hour together. They spend the hour doing activities that interest the student and that will develop them culturally, artistically, or educationally.

Mentors have helped make drastic changes in a student’s outlook on life and schooling after just one school year. They help the child set goals, give guidance and support, supervise academic achievements, promote a healthy lifestyle and build social ability. Students better their attendance, their commitments to school and relationships, and experience a multitude of other improvements.

“It might be a little hard to connect at first, but give it a week and the mentor and student have a great relationship," Janna comments.

The program is in constant need of mentors. Janna comments that if 200 adults volunteered, they would have a student for all of them. To help a student in need of a role model, all you need to do is fill out an application. It requires optimism and honesty, as well as reliability. “It’s just like applying for a job. We have tons of different people signing up.” And everybody who enters the program gets a chance at a rewarding and successful relationship with a kid who needs some help.