Julie Gallagher of Family and Youth Imitative in New Carlisle is looking for a few adults willing to spend a day per week visiting with local middle school students in New Carlisle and Enon to provide a listening ear and some motivation.
The mentoring program which began as part of a grant a few years ago has brought adults who are committed to helping area youngsters to grow together with mostly middle schoolers in the Tecumseh Local District. The plan now is to not only fill the need at Tecumseh Local but also to add more support for students in the Greenon Local School District.
Gallagher explained that by talking with a student one on one during their study hall or open period at school, an adult member can help them to improve their commitment to learning s well as provide support to encourage resiliency. Using the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents developed at the Search Institute, mentors work with the young people in the schools to understand and achieve both external assets such as caring about the neighborhood where they live, the environment and their school. For the Empowerment Assets they are learning about how they can have a useful role in their community, provide service to others and practice safety at home, school and in their neighborhood.
Also involved in the 40 Assets are those that speak to constructive use of time. Encouraging participation in art, music and theatre, sports, clubs and other organizations helps to foster leadership skills as well. Showing a commitment to learning by completing homework, reading for pleasure and caring about the school they attend.
These are just some of the common sense attributes that having a mentor can be part of the conversations during the interaction between youth and adults in the program.
The biggest part of the program is for the middle school student to have someone show up that is “just for them” said Gallagher. Men are paired with boys in the program and women who volunteer work with young girls. A BCI check is required and is mainly handled by the school district as is the case for all school volunteers.
“We can’t fix everything” said Gallagher, but the support provided is essential. The students are recommended by their school counselor or teachers for the program. At the present time there are 7 students on a waiting list for Greenon Local and a number of students still waiting in the Tecumseh Local district.
Volunteers come to the program from local businesses, the New Carlisle Rotary Club and range in age from a gentleman in his 90’s to young men and women who want to give back an hour per week of their time. Retirees are also invited to apply to the program.
If you would like to learn more about the mentor opportunities you can contact Julie at 937-845-0403. The office for Family and Youth Imitative is located at 468 N. Dayton Lakeview Road (Rt 235) just south of New Carlisle across from Scarf Nursery. You can volunteer to participate at either Tecumseh Local or Greenon Local depending on where you live or work. The commitment is about an hour per week and this does not involve contacting you by phone or social media. It is an opportunity to foster a common sense approach to talking and listening to the youngsters in your community.