The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 08, 2020 1:00 am

'A friend they can count on'

Mentorship's myriad benefits to schoolchildren

Julie Hoch

Don't complain about the children in today's world. Make a difference to help make that change – be a mentor.

I work as a secretary in an elementary school where we have a program called Kid's Hope.

Mentors come to a school one hour a week and meet with children to make a difference in their lives.

As I see these mentors come in to greet the kids, you can see the beaming in the students' eyes when they see someone showed up to take the time for them. They are truly excited to see them.

A mentor can play games, talk, work on school work – anything to help that child academically and socially and just being a friend. A mentor can be any age of adult, young or old. It does not matter to any of these children the age of the mentor. They enjoy having a friend they can count on.

It would be amazing if every school were a part of this program or had some type of mentor program to get involved in these children's lives. Teachers report the Kid's Hope mentor program improves a child academically by 99.3%. Also, teachers report that a Kid's Hope mentor improves attitude, behavior and attendance.

Wouldn't it be great to have many adult volunteers just once a week for one hour make a difference for the children of today?

All a person needs to do is to go through a background check from the school, fill out an application, go through an interview and have the willingness to make a positive impact in a child's life. You will also go to a training program for ideas and information on the mentor program. You may think this might be too hard, but all you must do is show up and be a part of their life.

Children in today's world are faced with more challenges than ever. We need to support them, mentor them and stop complaining about the way the children are and be the solution. Let's be a part of helping the schools and parents bring these kids around to know they are important and loved.

My own son was in the ninth grade when I was asked to have a mentor for him. I was excited to have a good role model in my son's life. His mentor has been with him since that year. He has been there through basketball games, cross country meets, golf meets and graduation – anything that was important in his life.

When my son went to Huntington College, his mentor came and cheered him on in his golf meets, and last month his mentor was at his wedding.

I can't tell you what this man did to help change my son's life with the support of a wonderful role model. I don't know what I would have ever done without this mentor.

That's why I want to get the word out about how important it is to support mentors or be a mentor. As they say: It takes a village to raise a child, and a mentor is a big part of that village.

Julie Hoch is a writer and works in education.

Sign up for our Opinion newsletter

Sent daily