On Thursday evening, Nov. 7 the Lake County Youth Mentor Program (LCYMP) held a mandatory training meeting for potential adult mentors interested in volunteering to help make a positive difference in the life of children across Lake County.
Held at the ESD building in Lakeview and led by Interim Director Kathy Miles, the meeting was an opportunity to inform those interested in mentoring of requirements and expectations for both individual and one-on-one mentoring pairs and team mentoring activities.
Many people in the room had been past mentors, but annual training is still a requirement. Offering a free dinner as incentive to attend, turnout was promising for a program that recently secured financial support and announced a new program director - Daphne Greer.
“The program still needs mentors, I have turned away kids from the program because we do not have enough people,” said Miles.
In Lakeview team mentoring for grades 4-6 is offered as well, where mentors and mentees meet monthly in a group setting for fun and educational activities such as treasure hunts, games, and arts and crafts. In North Lake and Paisley only group mentoring is available.
The point of mentoring young kids is essentially to help them, as a positive role model and friend. Many kids that are considered at-risk, and Lake County has a large number of them identified for participation in the program, need help with issues being faced at school through peer pressure, poor decision making or at home; and simply need a positive and stable adult to provide a sympathetic ear and positive experiences. Most of the mentees consider the mentor as a friend, and many of these kids struggle with making friends, according to Miles.
With the one-on-one mentoring program the minimum time commitment is as little as one hour per week. Miles added that if people wish to spend more time with their mentee it is encouraged. Miles also noted that meeting the time commitment during summer months can be difficult due to vacation schedules.
Miles gave a brief history of her time at LCYMP. In the beginning she was doing it all on her own, from having her own mentee, to completing paperwork and more. She partnered with the Lake County Education Service District (ESD) to share resources and help the operation run smoothly. The program is grant-funded, though recent added support from both Lake County Commissioners and the Town of Lakeview will aid operations for the current school year.
Miles mentioned that once mentors pick their mentee, there will be a series of interviews with the mentee and parents. Once all parties agree that it will work and the parameters have been set, only then is everything good to go.
For more information contact the Lake County Youth Mentor Program at 541-947-4880.