|Jessica Anderson (left) is a mentor to Brittany Stevens. Both are participants in The Path, a new mentoring program.|
Thanks to a grant from the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, teenage girls in Madison County have connected "with responsible adults who offer (the teens) guidance, support and encouragement at uplifting (their) character."
Missy Glover, director for the Path Mentoring program said, "The Path operates on a one-year schedule. The mentoring relationships are celebrated at a community kick-off event and year-end celebration. Although there are four group events throughout the year, the relation-ship between mentor and mentee is developed through one-on-one meetings and regular communication."
This year’s kick-off was held at the Parish Center of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. The girls participated in "getting-to-know-you activities." The teens and their mentors received journals in which to write their thoughts on the program, and everyone took part in a photo shoot. At the end of the program, the mentors will give the girls scrapbooks including the kick-off photos.
"In addition, mentees took home glass votives that will be filled throughout the program year with decorative stones from their mentors, to designate the path that the mentoring relationship has taken," Glover said.
"Mentors and mentees are expected to devote one to two hours each week toward the relationship, which may include activities such as cooking dinner together, completing an art project, going to the park, completing school work, watching a movie, visiting a museum or having a casual conversation. Mentors are provided with a suggested list of activities and regularly learn about successful outings their fellow mentors have had during team meetings," Glover said.
Nine girls ages 12 to 18 have been matched with mentors and one girl remains on the waiting list.
Later in the year, the girls will attend a career event hosted by the Career Center for Youth (part of EnterpriseWorks of Columbus) where they will be motivated to complete their education. The Path will also hold a community service event and a cultural event at the Springfield Art Museum.
At a safety event, the teens will learn "how to set boundaries including emotional boundaries with strangers or acquaintances, how to respond to confrontations and (how to) break off potentially threatening situations," Glover said.
"All young people have the potential to succeed in life and contribute to society. Unfortunately, not all children receive the support they need to thrive. The power of additional, positive, adult support or mentoring has proven to be a powerful tool in helping young people fulfill their potential," Glover said.
According to the Child Trends Research Brief, February 2002, youth involved in mentoring relationships experience positive scholastic, safety, social and emotional benefits.
Additional funding for the program has been provided by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, First Presbyterian Church of London and Wal-Mart of London.
The Path does not offer mentors for boys, however if additional funding becomes available, that may change.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.