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NON-PROFIT HAPPENINGS - January 2007

Grand Area Mentoring
By Beth Joseph, Program Assistant

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who didn’t want for positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m betting there was someone cheering you on and showing you the way.” These words from Denzel Washington’s bestselling book A Hand to Guide Me illustrate the special opportunity mentors have to make a significant difference in a young person’s life. The 47 adult mentors and 60 youth who participate in Moab’s Grand Area Mentoring (GrandAM) can attest to the difference mentoring makes.

With federal funding and program direction from Dan McNeil, the Grand County School District created the program in September 2005. GrandAM matches carefully-screened adult volunteers (mentors) with youth (mentees) in a school environment. Building a positive, new friendship helps to strengthen a mentee’s self-esteem and school performance. It provides a mentor with the chance to re-experience the adventure of childhood while contributing to the well-being of a child. Today with collaborations between schools, the business community, service clubs, and faith-based organizations, GrandAM boasts 42 mentor/mentee matches. With mentor coordination from Megan McGee and program assistance from Beth Joseph, McNeil is actively recruiting new mentors with the goal of 30 new mentors by the end of the school year.

GrandAM mentees are elementary to high school students who benefit from one-on-one friendships with caring adults. GrandAM focuses its energy on supporting each student who is eager for a new relationship with a caring adult, someone who will be a friend, show that they care, and provide just the amount of support to help our students succeed.

Mentors are all ages and come from all walks of life – trades-people, homemakers, university and college students, retirees, members of the business community. Mentors are given training and strategies to help students and to make the most of the relationship. Mostly a mentor is a friend.

A mentor is matched with the right student according to need and interest. Mentor and student meet at school for five hours or more per month, working on school projects, homework, reading, playing games, or just talking. While the program is school and academic-based, it is not just about grades. It’s about friendships. It’s about trust.

When asked why mentoring was important to her, one GrandAM mentor said: “human life lived to full potential starts with love and continues with support. To help a child to wholeness—physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and spiritually—is the beginning of the journey. I have enjoyed numerous mentors and what goes around comes around.”

If you would like to learn more about mentoring check out the GrandAM website, www.grandschools.org/mentor, or contact Dan, Megan, or Beth at 260-9646 or mcneild@grandschools.org.


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