Mentors and Mentees in Effingham High School Mentor Room
Mentoring Program Overview
A brief history...
Planning for the program began in the fall of 2000. By the end of the school year, 28 pairs of mentors and mentees were meeting at Central Grade School. As the program expanded in numbers, so did the recognition of its benefits. Through the mentoring program, a link has formed between the community and its public schools.
Currently the program serves over 150 matches and is in place at Central Grade School, Effingham Junior High School and most recently has expanded into the High School, as well. Each school has support for the program with an on-site facilitator and social worker or counseling staff. Students in grade three through twelve are served, many with the same mentor for over a period of several years.
Program Policy Overview
Unit 40 Schools Mentoring Program follows the "Elements of Effective Practice"- recognized nationally as the standard for effective mentoring programs.
Students are recommended for the program by teachers, staff, or parents. Each student must have written permission from a parent/guardian before they are considered. Students must also express a desire to be involved. Not all recommended students are invited to participate - some receive other services that are more appropriate for their needs.
Mentors must undergo a training session and two background checks for pertinent criminal or civil allegations before being admitted into the program. A work history and references must be provided. Mentors commit to one school year of weekly lunch-hour meetings.
Meetings take place only on school grounds in specified areas.
Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day-challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.
Many students live in environments that are under tremendous pressures, and often lack access to an adult outside their immediate family that can provide support, encouragement, and a role model to emulate. The one-on-one atttention of a mentor is a way to reach out, in a very personal way, to students struggling to find their way to adulthood.
Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity.