Make your 2020 New Year’s Resolution to find a way to support M.A.Y. Mentoring.
January is National Mentoring Month and a good time to remind the community how important this program is to youth and how the community can be involved.
“National Mentoring Month is about promotion,” said Kim Leininger, M.A.Y. Mentoring Coordinator. “It’s about letting people know that we have the mentoring program, and it isn’t an overwhelming job to be a mentor.”
Shenandoah’s M.A.Y. Mentors provide a positive influence for students and help them to see things from a different perspective.
Volunteering to be a M.A.Y. Mentor is only one of the many ways one can help support the community-based mentoring program that started in 2000 with seed money from Ed May Jr. in honor of his parents.
Besides being a traditional M.A.Y. Mentor, one can volunteer to be an e-mentor with the Links to LNX program. Students and e-mentors email messages weekly.
You could serve on the advisory board or be a Links to LNX advisory committee member.
Financial contributions can be made as a one-time donation, annually, or a three-year pledge.
Volunteer to sponsor a mentor meeting or group activity or offer to provide a meal for an event. A few of the group activities to date have included Pool and Pizza Party, Picnic at SportsPlex, Bugg’s Farm Event, bowling and Live Chutes and Ladders at the Shenandoah Public Library.
Help with the MC2 Club activities or be a chaperone for one of their business tours.
One of the simplest ways the community can show their support is by attending the M.A.Y. Mentoring fundraising events.
Offering discounts on food or supplies for mentoring activities or running instore promotions are ways for local businesses to be involved.
Leininger said their biggest need right now is for male mentors.
“I have a lot of young men who really want and need a good male role model,” said Leininger.
Leininger said these young men need someone to support, encourage and guide them. She said it might be that they don’t have a male role model in their life, or they may just need another male figure to do activities.
“You don’t have to plan a specific activity,” said Leininger. “You can include a child in your daily activities, spend time with them, and get to know them. It can be really flexible.”
Leininger said mentors are asked to commit to a minimum of one full year when signing up. She said mentors are expected to spend a minimum of one hour a week or four hours a month with their students, but the meeting times don’t have to be the same every week.
“I ask them to commit to a year of mentoring because a lot of students have had people come in and out of their lives, “ said Leininger.
Leininger said M.A.Y. Mentoring currently has approximately 40 Mentor/Mentee matches, but there are around 30 more students on the waiting list.
“There are a lot of kids that would love to have a person outside their normal environment,” said Leininger.
Leininger said a big part of mentoring is giving the students a chance to experience new opportunities and learn about them.
“Sometimes mentoring is about enhancing a particular skill or gift that a student has,” said Leininger. “There are just so many reasons for mentoring.”
Leininger said mentoring isn’t just for kids with dysfunctional homes or challenging situations. It is for any student who needs a little bit of a gap filled in.
“We just want to encourage people to give mentoring a chance and know it isn’t overwhelming,” said Leininger. “What you do in an hour or so a week can go a really long way for a kid.”
The Shenandoah Chamber and Industry Association will host a coffee at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15, in the Shenandoah Middle School commons area to promote M.A.Y. Mentoring.
In Saturday’s Valley News, is a story on all the programs M.A.Y. Mentoring offers.