By Lona Davis, Local Heroes Program Manager
High School students from Rossville, Clinton Prairie and Clinton Central have been partnering with COACH Kids to mentor an elementary student via the Local Heroes Program for over 10 years. Three years ago, the Program started its own in-school organization. Since forming, COACH Kids Club, the number of High School Mentors has increased to nearly 100 matches.
Statistics show that 90% of kids that are mentored want to become mentors. COACH Kids has instances of young people that were mentored just a few years ago that are now mentoring in our Local Heroes Program. Being mentored and being a mentor can lead to life changes. The tools that are developed while mentoring may lead to lifelong volunteerism in the broader community. Kelsey Shields an alum of Clinton Prairie is a great example. Kelsey received a COACH Kids Scholarship last year and continues her mentoring in the College Mentors for Kids Program at Ball State.
Layne Snyder, a Senior at Clinton Prairie says “I’ve been lucky enough to have Braxton as my mentee for 3 years now! We look forward to seeing each other every week and learning new things about each other. Braxton and I have grown into best friends over the years! We have formed a bond that I know will last forever, and he feels safe telling me anything going on in his life. I have watched him mature and grow not only within school, but also as a person. “
High School Mentors have so much to offer our elementary students. Along with their vitality and ability to be a role model, the mentors are trained on consistency, reliability, listening, and problem solving. The ability to help their young person feel positive about school and building a trusting friendship is huge. They are encouraged to laugh, a lot. Taryn Wainscott, a Sophomore at Rossville, says “I love getting to spend each Tuesday morning with Abel playing board games. He always greets me with a huge hug and smile and has many stories to tell from the past week. It always brightens my day.”
When asked to describe her experience with community service and volunteering and how it has affected you and your outlook, Robin Blackwell, a Senior at Rossville replied “In my community, I enjoy a variety of activities that involve serving others while becoming a better person myself. My involvement with COACH Kids, a Clinton County faith-based program to guide at-risk youth, continues to impact me the most. Every Wednesday I mentor a sweet fifth-grader through COACH Kids. When I joined this program a year ago, I was nervous that I would not know how to relate to and guide a child so unlike me. However, she has taught me that no matter what life serves you, it does not have to steal your positivity. Every day she could choose to embrace her not-so-ideal situations; however, she chooses to be joyful, kind, helpful, generous, and considerate. My mentee inspires me to make the best out of anything I may face.”
Teams of counselors, teachers, and staff who COACH Kids considers their “All Stars”, manage their Clubs within the schools. Colleen Jacoby, the Coordinator at Rossville High School, has witnessed the COACH Kids Local Heroes Program making a big impact on both the mentors and the mentees. “It is wonderful to see that the mentors are taking their time with the mentees seriously and are conscious about being the role model to these students in school and in the community. A mother of a mentee sought out her son’s mentor at a basketball game (the mentor being a basketball player on the varsity team) and said how important he was to her son and that her son talked about him at home all the time. I also witnessed the student coming up to his mentor at the game and it was so great to see the mentor taking time and making the mentee feel important and special. The impact these small acts have on a young student cannot be measured and should never be taken for granted.”
If becoming a mentor in your High School is something you would like to do, watch for your “Call Out’ recruiting meeting near the end of August at Rossville, Clinton Prairie, or Clinton Central. This Program is in-school only. The only approved time outside of school will be the Local Heroes Luncheon at the beginning of April with food, games, and time to celebrate friendship.
In partnership with Local Businesses and Individuals, COACH Kids offers a Scholarship Program for their Senior Mentors. For more information on COACH Kids Local Heroes Programs or to contribute to the scholarships, please call 765-654-8812, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.