A beloved community program is on the rise again, with recent finances secured and a new director to guide its future.
The Lake County Youth Mentor Program (LCYMP) had hit troubled times the past several years, but is already seeing renewed interest in potential mentors and a new guide to lead it. Daphne Greer has been named the new director, taking over for Kathy Miles, who stepped in on an interim basis after previously retiring from the role.
Greer is a sixth generation Lake County resident and Lakeview High School graduate who pursued a career in law enforcement as a probation officer after receiving a degree in law enforcement from Western Oregon University. After 14 years working in the Pendleton area the family returned to Lake County six years ago.
Greer has been actively involved for the last four years in organizing the GO GIRLS club, a female empowerment and support group for grades 7-12 that meet on Wednesday afternoons at LHS. Seeing firsthand teens who were struggling gain a foothold and path to success through the GO GIRLS sessions encouraged Greer to explore an expanded role with LCYMP.
She has also been active with the Council on Aging, assisting with the Meals-on-Wheels program. Greer also runs the nonprofit Lydia’s Love, which provides children’s birthday parties for kids in need.
“After working in the criminal justice system for years, seeing the families and kids affected, now I have the opportunity to work with kids and help make a positive impact,” said Greer. “A lot of kids are high needs, and a positive role model is essential. Every kid deserves to have a safe person to confide in, to have fun with, and be a normal kid not burdened by their environment all the time – that’s where the mentor program steps in to help.”
LCYMP recently announced funding support from the Collins Foundation, as well as Lakeview Town Council and Lake County Commissioners, to secure funding for this year while grants are sought.
“I see the program as being vital, especially in Lake County,” added Greer. “It is an amazing program, it is needed, and it helps bridge that gap and fill needs for kids that may not be getting opportunities to be successful.”
In addition to the GO GIRLS program, LCYMP coordinates individual mentoring pairs with a local kid and positive adult role model, as well as team mentoring activities where a group of adult mentors meet with students for anything from games and STEM-related educational projects to treasure hunts and trips.
Greer’s immediate goals are to enhance communication and outreach with the community, recruit new mentors, and re-establishing key relationships with community members and donors. Every year LCYMP organizes the Western Extravaganza – an annual fundraiser welcoming the community to hear about the program and participate in themed games, auctions, raffles and a dinner. This year’s event will take place on April 11 at the Lakeview Elks Lodge.
Team mentoring events take place in Lakeview on the third Thursday of each month 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall. In Paisley team mentoring happens at the Community Center on the second Wednesday of each month at 4:15 p.m. North Lake team mentoring activities are typically the third Wednesday of each month at 4:15 p.m. at the Christmas Valley Community Center.
“I don’t plan on changing anything major, I know I have big shoes to fill and I’m very humbled by the opportunity to help out our community,” added Greer. “I want to make sure the program is funded, well-respected, and continues to be stable and growing going forward.”
For those interested in being a mentor to a Lake County youth, a mandatory introductory mentor training meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Lake County ESD Building at 357 N. L St. in Lakeview. Dinner will be provided.
For more information about the Lake County Youth Mentor Program call 541-947-4880.