The Mentoring Makes a Difference Program of Prevention Consultants of Missouri is celebrating National Mentoring Month in January. This is the 11th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. The January campaign is dedicated to recognizing current mentors in the program and recruiting caring volunteer mentors.
Engaging kids in a mentoring relationship has been recognized through national research as an effective strategy to reduce the use of drugs and alcohol, prevent truancy, and reduce school violence. It has also been shown to improve school attendance, academic performance, attitudes about school, and peer and family relationships.
The local Mentoring Makes a Difference program provided by Prevention Consultants of Missouri, which is in its ninth year, has been having similar results. Youth identified with poor behavior by teachers and parents before entering the program improved their behavior by 25 percent after one year of participation.
Mentoring Makes a Difference provides an opportunity for a positive, caring, adult volunteer to meet with a matched child for one hour a week in a supervised, after school setting. Mentors commit to one-year of participation. The program includes 40 kids ages six through 14 in the Rolla area.
The program began in the fall of 2003 and continues to focus on building a positive relationship between the participating child and mentor.
Children are referred to the program by school counselors, teachers, or parents. During time together, matches work on homework, share their thoughts and ideas, and play games. Additional recreational opportunities for mentors and mentees, such as mini golf, ceramic painting and attending plays, are also scheduled once a month outside of the after school setting.
If you would like more information on how to become a mentor, please contact Jamie Myers or Rachael Karr at 573-368-4755.