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Make a difference in a child's life during National Mentoring Month

<p>Mentor Kelly (left) with mentee Zarita (right) at the 360 Youth Services' Chocolate Festival on Jan. 18. &nbsp;| &nbsp;Photo courtesy of 360 Youth Services.</p>

Mentor Kelly (left) with mentee Zarita (right) at the 360 Youth Services' Chocolate Festival on Jan. 18.  |  Photo courtesy of 360 Youth Services.

A Mentor is someone you can turn to as a valuable source of advice and information.  A Mentor is a person who can show you support, and be your “go to” person when any issue arises, either personal or professional.  January is National Mentoring Month, and 360 Youth Services, has a program that has grown considerably in the past couple of years. 

According to Debbie Carr, Residential Programs Director for 360 Youth Services, “We have just started another Mentoring training program this past month, and we have seven new individuals who are now going through training to be a Mentor.  This is more than we have ever had in any previous training sessions since we started this program two years ago”.

360 Youth Services has found that adolescents and young adults are coping with far more personal and social pressures than any other previous generation. So, the organization matches mentee candidates with a volunteer mentor, so young people can find the support they need to develop the skills to effectively deal with these pressures. 

The Mentoring programs at 360 Youth Services serve both males and females ages 12-24 years old, with a variety of different needs. 360 Youth Services matches mentees with mentors who are caring, non-judgmental, who want to work with these young men and women and help them succeed.  

Amy McKeever has been working with a student as a 360 Youth Services mentor since 2012. She said she wanted to be a mentor because she wants to help young girls, especially since she works with senior citizens during the day. Her mentee is a high school student who says she really enjoys having Amy as her mentor. They meet once a month and the mentee says “we go places together, she gives me good advice and helps me meet my goals.”

Kelly Flack, who is very passionate about the power of volunteering, and her mentee have only been working together for a few weeks, but they have already starting to feel a special bond between them.  “I became involved with the Mentoring program at 360 Youth Services, when I heard one of the staff members talking about the program at a presentation I was attending at North Central College.  Since I wanted to become involved with the program, and I also knew it had a wonderful reputation in the community, I wanted to learn more about it.”

If someone is looking to be a mentor through 360 Youth Services, the process is quite easy.  The agency is looking for volunteer mentors who are mature, kind, accountable, supportive, and open-minded.  The Mentor is asked to make at least a one-year commitment, including weekly contact with the mentee.  

Kelly and her mentee decided to volunteer at the 360 Youth Services Chocolate Festival as their first event together this past week.  Both Kelly and her mentee enjoyed the event, spending time together, and getting to know each other.  “There is nothing better than volunteering and a day of chocolate”, said Kelly!

If you are interested in learning more about the Mentoring program at 360 Youth Services, visit the agencies website or call Nancy Hoelscher 630-639-1312.

360 Youth Services provides life changing services to young adults, school-aged youth, and their families through substance abuse prevention education, counseling and shelter.

 

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