In Georgia, more than 20,000 kids drop out of high school every year. These dropouts cost our state $17 billion per year in forgone revenue, a cost almost as high as our entire state budget. With mentors, these statistics can be reduced. The Cochran/Bleckley Community Collaborative, CIS/FC Mentoring Initiative is pleased to announce that we are off and running just in time for National Mentoring Month, spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project and MENTOR/National Mentoring partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Pictured in this article are our very first mentors. At BCES our mentors are Ms. Belynda Enzor, Ms. Betty Tapley, Mr. Kevin Johnson, Ms. Brittany Badgett and at BCMS, Mr. Anderson Ligon, Mr. Franz Eitel, Ms. Lynne Sanders. They are now matched and meeting with their mentees beginning January 20, 2009. All of these wonderful people have cheerfully gone through extensive training and background checks. The children our Mentoring Grant serves are in grades 4-8th and are referred to us by counselors, teachers and parents. The mentees and mentors are asked numerous questions and complete interest surveys which we in turn use to make the best matches. We have the unique opportunity to help these young people by pairing them with a caring, like-minded and dedicated adult.
The adult must commit to meet with their mentee once a week for 45 minutes at the school for one full school year. Many mentors choose to continue the meeting until the child leaves the 8th grade. The program is designed for the adult to be a friend to the child, not a disciplinarian, teacher or tutor. They decide together what they will do during their special time with one another. It’s all about building a relationship and in turn, studies have shown that students who have been mentored are less likely to commit a crime, drop out of school, become pregnant and have better relationships with other students, teachers and their parents.
As you consider your New Year’s resolution consider making a difference in the future by helping a child today. There is no greater gift you can give than the gift of time. With the start of a new year, consider being a mentor.
In the coming weeks, you will be reading about these wonderful people and their developing relationships. We hope it will encourage you to rethink your free time and join one of the most important journeys in a young person’s life.
For more information, please contact Gretchen Wilson-Tuck, Mentoring Coordinator at 478-934-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org