For the past 19 years, Quincy Public Schools has been matching volunteers to work one-on-one with students as part of their 'Mentor Program.' With so many risk factors facing today's youth, the district is now asking for volunteers as the program continues for another year.
According to a study by www.mentorfoundationusa.org children who have mentors in their lives are 46% less likely to use illegal drugs and 52% less likely to skip school.
Around 200 mentors are a part of the QPS Mentoring Program with kids in pre-k through high school. The student and the mentor meet once a week for 30 minutes during school hours.
Coordinator Jackie Schlipmann says it gives a chance for mentors to develop a relationship with the child and to give them support and guidance that they may not get at home.
"Many of the students just thrive on that little extra one-on-one attention that the mentor brings," said Schlipmann. "The mentors, of course, get a lot out of it. They see the growth in the students, they see the maturity level; especially if they stay with that student from year to year."
Schlipmann says that students are identified by their classroom teacher and occasionally a parent will step forward saying, 'I think my child would benefit from this.'
"We especially get that a lot of times from single moms hoping to find a male role model for their child," said Schlipmann. "We always need more male mentors as well."
There's no special skills required to be a mentor. For those interested, there will be an orientation and training Thursday, September 12 from 11:30-12:30 at the district offices. Reservation is required. To make a reservation, contact Jackie Schlipmann at (217)-228-7158, ext. 2230.
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