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NON-PROFIT HAPPENINGS - October 2005

Give Five - Grand Area Mentoring

Grand County School District has been awarded a federal grant to implement an in-school mentor program in grades four through eight. Dan McNeil and assistant Sydney Francis will coordinate Grand Area Mentoring (GrandAM) and have already begun actively recruiting responsible adult mentors. “This program is about building relationships,” says McNeil, “and that means it’s also about building community.”

In addition to developing positive relationships, GrandAM is focused on improving student grade point averages, lowering rates of unexcused absences, and maintaining the mentor/student match for at least a year. Federal funding will continue for three years, renewed each year upon achieving significant progress. Surrounded by stacks of recruiting material and sorting through grant material, McNeil says, “‘Significant progress’ means that we need numbers. We need better grades, attendance, and successful matches. But most importantly, we need mentors.”

On a rolling basis GrandAM will train suitable mentors in best mentoring practices, school procedures, and learning theory. GrandAM mentors can give one hour per week at school and attend one local field trip per month with their mentee (student). “And that adds up to just five hours a month,” insists McNeil. “Five hours. That’s less than the average amount of TV watched by an American adult every day.”

Like mentoring programs all over the country, GrandAM aims to achieve success through fostering trust between the youth and adults of the community. And like other mentoring programs, McNeil points out, “the benefits of mentoring are inherent in offering knowledge and care to our children. It’s good common sense.” Students will be referred to GrandAM by their teachers, counselors, or principals. Parents/guardians can also submit an interest form to enter their children into the mentoring system.

A partnership with Four Corners, recommendations of a community-based advisory committee, and promising goals have already won enthusiastic response from parents and district employees. When asked about GrandAM, Taryn Kay, Director of Student Services in Grand County, affirmed, “The youth of our country is our greatest asset, and we will do well as a community to invest our time and energy in developing responsible, compassionate, and thoughtful young people. The GrandAM program is a perfect tool for this endeavor.”

Give five, and be part of the GrandAM program.

For more information on the program or becoming a mentor, contact Dan McNeil at the following address, email, or number. You can also submit an application online at the GrandAM website (under Program Information).

GrandAM, 84 North 100 EastMoab, UT 84532

Office: 435-260-9645
Email: mentor@gw.grand.k12.ut.us
Website: www.grand.k12.ut.us/mentor
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