YWCA seeks mentors for programs

WARREN – The YWCA of Warren is looking for adult and teen volunteers to serve as mentors.

Kassey Nall, teen program director at the YWCA, said the Swanston Innovative Fund provided money for the Pass Mentoring, which has adults ages 18 and older who can donate one hour a week to spend time with youth in seventh to 12th grades.

“We are asking for adults to give one hour a week to spend time with a Warren City School youth,” Nall said.

She said the mentors can take their students to a sporting event, library, dinner, lunch or other local places. There is a small stipend reimbursement.

“An adult presence makes a difference to many of the youth,” Nall said.

Shari Harrell, executive director of the YWCA,said the adults can help the students with their social skills and academics skills as they move from middle and junior high to high school and from high school transition to young adults.

Nall said there are 31 children in the program.

Those interested can call Nall at 330-373-1010, Ext. 18, or Jimmy Pugh at Valley Counseling Services at 330-219-5922. A background check of mentor candidates is required.

The program was a collaboration between YWCA, Valley Counseling and Project Gridiron.

Nall said a second mentoring program is Teaching, Educating, Advising and Mentoring (TEAM), in which high school students provide peer mentoring to third- and fourth-graders. The program is from 3 to 5p.m. Monday to Thursday starting Feb. 4.

“This program is designed to increase self-esteem among youth,” Nall said.

She said the YWCA is currently recruiting high school students.

Harrell said the mentees are identified and recommended to the program by the teachers who may see a student struggling and need help with their attendance, academics or behavior in school.

“We want to provide them with a positive influence to help them improve at school. We hope this helps them to improve their academics and behavior in school,” she said.

Harrell said the TEAM program originally started with a Safe and Drug-Free Schools grants for Warren City Schools to focus on improving academics. The program has been since modified due to less funding with more focus on homework and tutoring, she said.

Parents who want a child in the program need to contact the schools for a referral.

Applications for mentors are being taken at the YWCA. Nall said the mentors would have to be free after school during the week to participate.

As part of the program, elementary students from a different Warren city school will be at the YWCA on a specific day. The mentors and mentees will meet at the YWCA.

Pugh said the high school students really make a difference to the younger children.

“They meet in small groups and help them deal with conflicts and issues they may be facing in their lives. We deal with life skills,” he said.

Pugh said the high school students also benefit by being mentors and serving as role models.