By Ellen Krogmann |
Empty Nesters, here’s your opportunity to have an impact on the life of a child. January is National Mentoring Month. To celebrate, Mentoring Connection for Delaware County is sharing the success of youth mentoring and is recruiting individuals to become involved in the program. Mentoring Connection connects youth, ages five to 16, with a caring adult like you, age 18 and older. For a few hours per month, you can spend one-on-one time together doing things you both enjoy.
The local program has 34 active matches of adults mentoring children in Delaware County. The numbers have been increasing, and currently ten youth are waiting for a mentor. We would love to see more people volunteering their time as mentors. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Mentoring Connection has three ways you can get involved.
- The Community-Based Program is where volunteers meet outside the school day and off school grounds for a few hours every month.
- The School-Based Program is made up of volunteers who meet with the student during the school day and on school grounds for about an hour each week.
- The third option allows volunteers to meet for an hour one day per week after school.
Volunteers commit for one year to mentor a youth. All our mentoring programs help the youth aspire, achieve and develop to their fullest potential and also give the youth the opportunity to establish a healthy and appropriate relationship with an adult.
Robyn Morris has been matched with her mentee, Tjaden, since October 2010. They enjoy many activities together like sledding, swimming, bike riding, rollerblading, visiting the pumpkin patch, and spending a day at the Delaware County Fair. Tjaden enjoys the mentoring program because “you get to do fun stuff” like scrapbooking, painting fingernails, and listening to music. Morris enjoys encouraging Tjaden in her activities and can be found at Tjaden’s school and community events.
Another successful match is a mother-son pair mentoring a sister-brother duo. For the last two years, Julie Preussner and her son Luke have been matched with Lila and her younger brother Zevon. They enjoy spending time as a foursome or as individual matches. Sometimes they meet for a fun-filled day of activities, other times they have multiple but shorter visits. Julie states, “Being flexible is the key. Planning for longer periods is often easier, but it’s okay if plans change.” Luke and Zevon’s ‘favorite list’ includes playing football, sledding, hiking and fishing. Woodworking projects are also a hit with Zevon. Julie and Lila enjoy cooking as their favorite activity, with Lila as the accomplished assistant. When asked if she likes the mentoring program, Lila summed up her feelings by responding, “Yes, it just feels like family.” Julie added that the mentoring program allows her to share her passions and keeps her in touch with her soul.
Celebrate National Mentoring Month with Mentoring Connection and all of the nation’s mentoring programs. The goal is to have 40 active matches in our program by the end of the 2013-14 school year. We hope to expand community involvement in the county to keep this program going.
Consider becoming a mentor, sharing this opportunity with others, or encouraging a child you know who’d like to get in a program. Contact me, Ellen, at 563-379-3454 or firstname.lastname@example.org. What a great way to start off the new year. Get involved today!