Mentoring is a unique way to make a difference in the life of a child. Mentors at the Hinesburg Community School have been volunteering one hour of their time on a weekly basis to establish lasting friendships with a Hinesburg youth. Longtime mentor Jane Sheldon explains why. “Knowing that I am making a difference in a child’s life is a wonderful feeling. I can’t quantify how much effect I have on my mentee, but seeing her so excited to see me on our weekly visits, or how pleased she is when I attend her concerts, reaffirms my belief that I am having a positive influence on her self-esteem.”
All children benefit from the extra attention of a caring adult. The Connecting Youth Mentor Program is offered in all Chittenden South Elementary Schools for children in grades 5 through 8 who have been nominated to the program by their teachers. The Mentor Program offers a friendship that can be a source of support as they navigate these sometimes difficult years of adolescence. Anne Driscoll who started mentoring two years ago expresses, “As a retired elementary school principal, I realized I missed being with the children. So, I thought being a mentor would be a good thing to do. And I was right!”
Adult volunteers are given training and support to begin this trusted relationship. The most important quality an adult must have is a commitment to mentor for one school year. Many mentors continue on with their student until they graduate from 8th grade because they find it so enjoyable. Mentors meet students at the school during an hour that works for the student, mentor and teacher. A Mentor Room offers a place to play games, do crafts, or work on puzzles.
Mentors can also take their mentee outside for fresh air activities.
The Mentor Program is currently looking for eight more adults for the program. Men are especially needed. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or have questions about the program call or email Ginny Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 482-6271 for the Hinesburg Community School. To volunteer at Shelburne Community School or Charlotte Central School call or email mentor coordinator, Bethe Patrick-Ogle at email@example.com or 425-6642.
Connecting Youth is a community organization housed within Chittenden South Schools whose programs are aimed at promoting a culture that develops within youth the power and conviction to make healthy choices.