Mentoring a needy child can change a young life

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By Staff
Sometimes all it takes is someone to care.
In January, we recognize a special group of people who make a difference in the lives of our youth – mentors.
These unselfish men and women work one-on-one with students who might need a little help in understanding math or learning to read. Other mentors are there for teenagers, who don't believe their parents understand them.
Many success stories prove the effectiveness of mentors in changing not only grades, but lives.
Some school districts have formal programs that schedule mentors to work with specific children each week, such as the CHARMS program at Sam Adams Elementary School in Cassopolis.
CHARMS stands for Community Helping Achieve Reading and Math Success.
Other districts have foster grandparents who sit and work with one child at a time.
A group of Edwardsburg High School students have become mentors for elementary students. Along with helping with their academics, the older students act as role models. They commit to be mentors for the entire school year.
Dowagiac Union High School students also mentor for fourth and fifth grade students.
Another mentoring opportunity is the Cass County Building Restorative Communities program. Young adults are matched for a three-month period with an adult. The program is similar to Big Brother Big Sisters, but is a shorter commitment time.
No matter what the program is which matches youth to an adult, the results are usually very beneficial to both.
If you wish to help shape the life of a child or young adult, contact your local school district, or the Volunteer Center in Niles.
Your life will also be enriched.