Monday, June 01, 2009

Mentors Needed for New Fayette County Program

If you want to help children and the future of our economy at the same time, the Friends Mentoring Program with the Fayette County School System needs you.

A new mentoring program for the school system’s Alternative School will begin this school year (2009-2010). Those who need mentors are facing tough personal situations and need advocates who refuse to give up on them. The majority of students enrolled at the school are males at the middle school level.

Sometimes students become so overwhelmed with their personal circumstances that they feel they have to make a choice between school and their issues. Often it is school that suffers, leading to poor academic performance and sometimes dropping out. Mentoring has shown to have the ability to assist youth in lifting themselves out of dire situations and placing them on a path to success.

Mentoring gives children the ability to change their circumstances, helps to build self-esteem, teaches children how to maintain successful relationships with adults and builds successful decision-making skills. Mentoring can also have a dramatic impact on the economy.

The Center for Labor Market Studies estimates that more than $250,000 is lost per youth in payment of payroll, federal and state income taxes and local property taxes per high school dropout. Also, research has shown that Americans without a high school diploma earn $400,000 less over a working lifetime than those who graduated. The average pay for a high school dropout is $11,031 per year compared to $23,059 for a graduate.

Adults have worldly experience that they can share with youth, guiding them toward a successful future. A commitment of one day, one hour per week mentoring a student throughout the school year could change that person’s entire life. If you would like to become a mentor for the new alternative school mentor program, contact Jane Gough, the Friends Mentoring Program manager, at 770-460-3990, ext. 255 or email

Volunteers must successfully complete a criminal background check as well as an application that can be downloaded from the school system’s website, Those accepted into the program will also be required to attend orientation training before working as a mentor.

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