Braves Mentoring Program builds bonds between students and community
Cherokee Middle School is in the process of setting up a mentoring program for grades 5-8. Middle School Principal Scot Aden, Chief of Police Nate James , school counselor Brenda Haack and Season’s Mental Health base service worker Melinda Hammen got together to research the mentoring program.
The model for the program came from the Spencer School District. Representatives from Cherokee went to Spencer to learn how their program operated and what effect it had on the students. Liking what they say they decided to organize a the Braves Mentoring program.
The program is designed to have a volunteer mentor from the community donate one hour a week of their time to spend with their men-tee (the student). The one hour will a week will only be during school time in the “Brave Mentor” room. The mentor and the men-tee will have one on one contact where they can interact withe each other such as talking, sharing interests, doing crafts. The room has a ping pong table, air hockey table, foosball table, board games and other activities.
The program is aimed at building strong positive relationships between an the mentor and men-tee. Mentoring works because it guarantees a young person that addition to family, another adult from the community cares and supports them and helps them in dealing with day to day challenges. Powerful mentors make for a stronger community.
The impact of mentoring has been shown to decrease participation in risk behaviors.
Students can be referred by their parents, teachers, or other adults in their lives. Matching the student with a mentor is based on common interests. Time is spent talking and having fun.
Benefits to the students enrolled in the mentoring program is increases high school graduation rates; healthier relationships and life style choices; better attitude about school and enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence as well as improved behavior at school and at home, improved interpersonal skills and a decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use and violent behavior.
The program not only benefits the men-tee but also the mentor. It increases self-esteem, gives the a sense of accomplishment, creates a network of volunteers; creates insights into childhood, adolescence and young adulthood and increases patience and improve supervisory skills.
The advisory committee has contacted local ministries, city groups and the rotary club and has found them to be a great source for mentors. To be a mentor, you must be an adult from the Cherokee community, commit to a full year of mentoring (can lead to more), fill out a survey for compatibility, pass a background check, and take a two hour training program.
If you need more information on becoming a mentor, referring a student; or having someone come and speak to you, your business or have questions about Braves Mentoring contact Brenda Haack at 712-225-6750.
The program is supported by the Cherokee Schools with operating costs generously funded by local service groups, businesses and individuals.