Leon County Schools in Need of Mentors

By: Patty Harrison Email
By: Patty Harrison Email

With a waiting list of more than one thousand students, it's no wonder mentor program coordinators in Leon County are ready to recruit.

January is "National Mentor Month" and the school district says they need to recruit at least 500 volunteers.

"I have mentor coordinators calling me every week and asking me 'do you have any more, do you have any more?' So all my schools have waiting lists of children that are waiting for mentors to put their name on the dotted line," said Leon County Schools Volunteer Coordinator Betsy McCauley.

Erik Kirk signed on five years ago, answering a call by then Governor Jeb Bush for state employees to become mentors as part of the Governor's Mentoring Initiative.

Since then, he's met on a regular basis with a student.

"An opportunity to help a young man in the community is very important and I encourage other people to become involved," said Kirk.

Mentoring program coordinators say a child who meets with a mentor once a week is less likely to try illegal drugs, experiment with alcohol, skip school, or get into a fight.

"There are so many students that need just a little one on one attention for them to succeed," said McCauley.

Leon County Schools mentors must give one hour, once a week for at least a semester.

Any adult who passes a criminal background check and attends a training session can be a mentor.

For more information on Leon County Schools' program, visit the district website at www.leon.k12.fl.us, click on the Community tab and look for the link that says Volunteers and Mentors.

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