M.A.Y. Mentoring celebrates 20 years

Volunteers were recognized at a Shenandoah Chamber and Industry Coffee Jan. 15 at the Shenandoah middle school. Pictured are some of the volunteers in the Links to LNX E-Mentoring program. L to R Front row: Dennis Gates, Chelsie Greene, Taylor Goetz, Patti Rolf and Kim Leininger (M.A.Y. Mentoring Coordinator). L to R Back row: Sue Jones, Gregg Broermann and Mike Bauer.

M.A.Y. (Mentoring Affects Youth) Mentoring, a community-based mentoring program, celebrated 20 years in Shenandoah Jan. 15 with a Shenandoah Chamber and Industry Association coffee at the middle school.

Kim Leininger, M.A.Y. Mentoring coordinator, said January is National Mentoring Month.

“The purpose of national mentoring month is to share the awareness of why there is a need for mentoring, how our program tries to address that need, but it’s also a time of celebration, recognition and thanks to the people who make this work,” said Leininger. “My job is easy because of all of you people: the mentors, the financial supporters, all the people that support in so many different ways.  I really, really appreciate it.”

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible to be matched with a mentor through the program and are typically referred by parents and teachers. Mentors and mentees spend a minimum of one hour a week or four hours a month together.

“We are just now starting to see some of the results of our mentoring as our students are now becoming adults,” said Leininger. “We do have some really good success stories. We plant seeds. We hope that we’re making a difference. We believe that we’re making a difference. Twenty years is phenomenal, but we want to keep going, and we want to keep growing.”

Leininger said it is a very positive program, and there is always a need for more volunteers willing to become a mentor.

“If you're thinking about it, I don’t twist arms, but we really, really do need more mentors,” said Leininger. “There's a lot of great kids out there who are awesome and have good families, but just a little support and maybe just a change of pace or something different to broaden their horizons is really awesome. Please consider that or tell your friends, tell other people that we need that.”

M.A.Y. Mentoring has expanded their programs beyond the one on one mentoring that is offered. The additional programs available to students in the Shenandoah Community School District are: Links to LNX E-Mentoring for all ninth grade language arts students, MC2 Club a voluntary mentoring club for sophomores, juniors, and seniors and Mustang Mentors are juniors and seniors who receive an elective class credit for mentoring and tutoring younger students at the elementary or middle school level.

Participants in all of the program’s groups were honored during the program, and volunteers received certificates from Governor Kim Reynolds.

Patti Rolf of Century Bank presented a check from their “jeans day” fund to Kim Leininger for the MC2 program.

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