January is National Mentoring Month, an opportunity to celebrate and honor the importance of quality mentoring programs and the role mentors play in the lives of others.
For eight years, retired teachers and community members in the Vandalia-Butler area have donated their time and their experience to serve as mentors for Morton Middle School students in the PASS (Partners Advocating Student Success) Mentor program. Several of the mentors have been with the program since its inception. The program provides students with an additional positive adult in their lives to help students set goals and focus on what will help them be successful in school and life.
The group of 17 mentors and 22 students will get together as a whole group three times this school year. More importantly, the mentors and their mentees will have the opportunity to meet on a regular basis throughout the year during the school day. This ongoing connection allows students and mentors to develop a deeper relationship.
“You can tell the students appreciate having them here. They will ask about them if they haven’t seen them for a little while. For some, I think it is nice to feel like someone outside of their family really truly cares,” Shannon White, Morton Middle School Principal, said.
Mentors will continue to meet with their students through the rest of the year. The group will have a final whole group session in May to celebrate some of the success stories. Students will often share their stories at this event, thanking their mentors.