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Mentors stick with QPS students as they grow

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When you were a kid was there a special grown up you looked up to? Someone other than mom or dad?

Maybe it was your teacher, a baby sitter, a neighbor.

Quincy Public Schools mentor coordinator Jackie Schlipmann says it's important for kids to have that figure in their lives.

Someone who is not the disciplinarian, but a friend.

"They may just really help students gain some self-confidence," said Schlipmann. "They may help them overcome shyness or work on getting along better with others."

Hunter Luckett is a third grader at Berrian School.

He says he enjoys making books and hanging out with this mentor.

"He's around. He's my friend. I actually have a friend to spend time with. And a little extra time to make books and stuff and draw pictures with him. We sometimes even pass notes around," said Luckett.

For an hour a week at least, Zachary Scharnhorst gets to leave his job at Stratas Foods and hang out with his buddy.

But that's not why he says he does it.

It's something he says his employer lets him and his co-workers do to give back to the community.

But the biggest benefit he says is the bond he's made with his young friend and watching him grow.

"I haven't been around kids much of my life so to see these kids go from not even recognizing the letters to now reading. It's kind of interesting for me to really see them," said Scharnhorst.

As kids get older, Schlipmann says she's seeing an increasing amount of mentors sticking by their kids.

even on into junior high. Something that wasn't always done in the past. Schlipmann says some people can become intimidated trying to help a junior high student with homework. It's more complicated than elementary work.

While not all of them are sticking by through the years, the need is still there.

The school system is reaching out to the community for more mentors to help kids of all ages.

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