Mentoring program for teens established PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN/Sentinel County Editor   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 09:03
Volunteers are being sought to help teenagers avoid some of the bumps on the rough road to adulthood.
A Wood County Teen Mentoring Program is being set up to match volunteer adults with teenagers in foster care or those who have a history in juvenile court.
The program is designed to help the youth by providing:
• A positive adult role model in their lives to help guide them in the right direction.
• Help guiding them through their vocational or educational goals.
• Help learning independent living skills.
• Fun experiences with a positive role model.
“This is not just about going to baseball games,” Kelly Hickle-Lentz, of Wood County Children’s Services, explained to the county commissioners last week about the new program.
The program will start slowly, targeting up to eight youth, ages 15 to 17, at a time.
The teen mentoring program will offer some of the same benefits provided by Big Brothers/Big Sisters. That program, however, ends for youth once they reach age 14.
“We saw this gap,” said Tim Brown, executive director of the Wood County Juvenile Court.
Youth will be chosen for the program based on their needs, and they will be matched with mentors based on their compatibility. The goal is to help the teens be more prepared for independent living when they leave foster care or become emancipated from their parents.
“This is one more person in their lives who could be a positive support for them,” Hickle-Lentz said of the adult mentors.
The mentors will help with such skills as balancing the checkbook, basic cooking, paying bills, furthering their education, and being involved in community service projects. The matches will also spend time on activities that have no learning goals other than having fun.
The program organizers would like to start the mentoring effort using county employees. They will undergo background checks, then be given initial training followed by annual updates. Each mentor will be asked to make at least a one-year commitment to the program.
The volunteer mentors will be required to complete monthly reports. Each match will be monitored monthly by the organizers to ensure its progress.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 09:10

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