When you were a child, was there someone in your life – a teacher, neighbor, relative, or coach– who encouraged you and helped you become who you are today? That person was a mentor to you.
Mentors are caring adults and friends who devote time to a young person and give a child a chance to learn life skills. To raise awareness about the importance of this community service,The National Mentoring Partnership has declared January National Mentoring Month. This year’s theme is “Invest in the Future: Mentor a Child.”
Mentoring works. “By believing in me, my mentors have boosted my confidence and helped me believe in myself” declares a mentee in Athens-Clarke County. Volunteering as a mentor is a shared opportunity. One mentor explains, “To get kids to know you really care, and can be trusted, you just have to spend time with them and do things they like to do.”
Mentoring is a cost effective way to promote positive attitudes toward school and to teach life skills.
Athens has over two dozen mentor programs, each with a unique approach and specific target population. Many of these mentoring agencies have come together to form the Athens Community Mentor Collaborative (ACMC), co-facilitated by the Athens Area Community Foundation and Community Connection. Through this collaborative, programs coordinate their efforts to recruit and train mentors. The mentoring agencies share resources and hold one another accountable to using best practices.
The Athens Community Mentor Collaborative assists the agencies who help kids in school,work, and life, by giving them the support they need to achieve their potential. Every school in Clarke County has children in need of a mentor.
Mentors devote at least a year to the mentor-mentee relationship.
Unable to volunteer for a long term commitment? Consider positively influencing the life of a young person by serving as a tutor. The Athens Community Mentor Collaborative has tutoring agencies as well. A tutor provides academic assistance, cultural enrichment opportunities, and basic life skills enhancement to increase a child’s self-esteem and encourage them to stay in school and succeed.
For more information on becoming a mentor, or supporting a mentoring agency, call me, Dawn Aiello, Community Programs Director of Community Connection at (706) 353-1313 ext. 231 or visit the ACMC website. Agencies with mentoring or tutoring programs interested in joining the Athens Community Mentor Collaborative can visit http://HandsOnNortheastGeorgia.org/Mentor for more information.