CLEARFIELD – January has been proclaimed as National Mentoring Month in Clearfield County.
Youth mentoring programs match mentors with children who need or want a caring, responsible adult in their lives.
Adult mentors are usually unrelated to the child and work as volunteers through a community-based program.
Children’s Aid Society has offered youth mentoring since the 1980’s, according to Mary Beth Geppert, program coordinator.
For many years, it was part of the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Studies show that children who meet regularly with a mentor are less involved with drugs and alcohol and perform better in school.
They also have better relationships with parents and peers than children who are not in a mentoring program.
Mentors help children develop higher aspirations, build greater confidence and ultimately achieve educational success.
“It’s incredibly important what we do for our children,” expressed Commissioner Mary Tatum on Tuesday. “They are our future.”
While there’s always a need for volunteers, the program has a particular need right now for male mentors, Geppert said.
Upon her mention of a waiting list for five boys, Tatum challenged the county’s “able-bodied” men to step up.
Mentors must commit to spending at least four hours a month with their match for a minimum of one year.
Children Aid Society currently serves 15 children through its community-based mentoring program.
Also, in collaboration with Clearfield area schools, it began its first-ever, school-based mentoring program in 2022-23.
This program pairs high school students from grades 7 through 11 to mentor elementary students in grades 2 through 5.
The 10 matches meet every Monday after school for tutoring, snacks and social/emotional learning time.
For more information or questions regarding the Youth Mentoring Program, please contact Geppert at 814-765-2686, Ext. 202.