Mentoring program kicked off at Riverside

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Shelly Horton, LPC, school based coordinator with Families, Inc., works with volunteer junior and senior students at Riverside organizing a new mentoring program for seventh and eighth grade students.

Members of the Riverside junior and senior classes gave up a little of their August summer break to discuss and learn about a new mentoring program. The program is geared to help seventh and eighth grade students as they make the transition from elementary to junior high school.

Shelly Horton, LPC, school based coordinator with Families, Inc., conducted a workshop on Thursday, Aug. 6, at Riverside High School, defining what is a mentor and helped with a building plan for the program.

She emphasized what students should and should not do as mentors. The group enjoyed discussions and group activities.

Facilitators for the Riverside pilot program are high school teachers Meagan Priest and Matt Ziegler. They are excited about the program. They were pleased to have 42 members of the junior and senior class volunteer to be part of the mentoring program for the estimated 130 seventh and eighth grade students.

Each mentor will be assisting two to four younger students.

"We tried to match up the students by interests," Ziegler said.

The facilitators can see the junior high students who are being mentored during the first years becoming the future high school leaders in the program reaching out to help others.

Horton said she is excited about bringing this program to the high school.

"I have had this program information for several years and I am glad to be part of bringing it into practice," Horton said. "Seventh and eighth grade students sometimes need someone to depend on and be a role model."

The students participating will pick a name for the new program once it is underway. An event will be planned for the mentors to meet with the seventh and eighth grade students.

Priest and Ziegler expressed their appreciation to the community for the support and donations to help with the program.

Brett Stobbe with Shelter Insurance in Lake City provided year planners, personalized with their school's name and colors, for all seventh and eighth graders and the junior and senior mentors. The daily planner provides information on dress code policies, academic goals, quotes, study skill tips, internet safety tips, dictionary, vocabulary and more.

Families, Inc. Counseling Services provided 200 jump drives in the school colors of maroon and gray.

Other donations so far have come from Lakeside Nursing Home, Delta Farms, St. Francis Pharmacy, Iberia Bank, Farmers Market and Woodruff Law Firm.

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