Indian Lake Middle School 8th grader Faith Moyer is excited about a new opportunity to make a friend.
“I’m not sure what to expect, but it should be fun,” Moyer said.
Faith is one of about 40 seventh and eighth grade students selected by middle school teachers and staff to take part in a new community-mentoring project getting underway in the coming weeks. The program is made possible by a three-year, $33,000 grant from Consolidated Care that includes two parts. Already this year middle school students have been doing projects incorporating the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets that young people need to be successful in life.
Now organizers are seeking mentors from the community to pair with students who they believe could benefit from having an additional positive adult role model.
Indian Lake Community Church Pastor Jim Ellington, Bud Christman from Bud’s Marine and Cecilia Yelton from Consolidated Care are helping identify mentors locally. Ellington plans to serve as a mentor himself.
“I see the schools gaining traction and community support. But through surveys we see that some kids don’t feel like the community is in tuned to or supportive of them,” Ellington said. “I think a program like this will show students that we do care.”
Ellington recently met up with seventh grader Xavier Green at school to get the ball rolling on their relationship.
“I got this big packet and I said what’s this? So my mom and I read it and I’m ready to start,” Green said.
Middle school Co-Principal Missy Mefford says mentors will be called upon to meet with students at school a few times a month. They might be asked to help with homework, talk to students about future career interests, or just be a friend who listens. She notes potential mentors will go through a short training and be subject to fingerprinting and background checks for the safety of the students.
Ellington points out you don’t need to be a titan of industry to be a mentor and role model.
“I think if somebody is caring and willing to listen, those are the major attributes we need. You don’t have to be somebody with all the answers, just a person with good life skills to share,” she said.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Ellington at Indian Lake Community Church by calling 834-5636, emailing Bud Christman at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Consolidated Care at 877-926-0957. The first round of training will take place on Feb. 22 from 6-8 p.m. at the Indian Lake Community Church Fellowship Hall. They are hoping to gather a core group that can make a positive impact
“Investing time in kids now can help prevent some of the negative life choices we’re seeing many people in our county make. To reach students now is great for them and for our community,” Ellington said.
In the meantime, Moyer is waiting to meet her mentor: “ It’ll be good to spend time with another adult.”
Submitted by Indian Lake Local Schools.