DARKE COUNTY — January is National Mentoring Month and our community has programs that need adult mentors to help with positive impact on our youth. As we celebrate this month, our focus on the local mentoring needs for our youth.
Gateway Youth and Community Connectors program partners with local volunteers, schools and organizations to build relationships that can enhance our young people’s attitudes, skills and behaviors through the Community Connectors Program. Our community has many youth that need that extra time with a mentor – it can ultimately lead to improved opportunities for their future.
Our program currently has 12 volunteer mentors with 13 youth matches in addition to three staff working in Tri-Village, Mississinawa, and Greenville Schools. However, we need more mentors – we have youth waiting for a mentor!
Mentoring is a critical component in many young people’s lives. Ruth Barga, Support Specialist, said, “Right now, our program has six youth in Darke County aged 14-16 that just need an adult to show them support, someone to talk with, and to help them see positive choices for their future. Just one hour a week can make a difference.”
Our success stories include a local small business owner that is matched with a 13-year-old boy. The child needed a father figure and the mentor helped him to work through his communication and anger issues by participating in physical activity together and positive informal conversations. As they worked through some of the issues together, he re-directed some of his anger issues for a more positive outlook.
Another mentor partnership success is a youth that has a love of history that is matched with a 70-year-old senior. The mentor’s life experiences coupled with learning events have helped the youth see better future opportunities. Talking with a mentor can help a child make healthy choices for day-to-day life and even set life goals.
You can make a difference, please contact Ruth Barga at Gateway Youth Programs at 937-548-8002 for more information and to be matched with a local youth that needs a little of your time and attention.
Council on Rural Services provides education and support through Gateway Youth Programs, Achievement Center for Educational Success (ACES), Kids Learning Place™, Head Start, and Early Head Start in their nine county service area.