Summit County Government

Posted on: January 7, 2016

Mountain Mentors Celebrates National Mentoring Month

Photo of a woman standing with a girl in front of a Christmas tree.

Local mentoring program seeks new volunteers to help empower local youth

Contact:
Shawna Lane
Mountain Mentors Program Supervisor
970-668-9182
Shawna.Lane@SummitCountyCO.gov

SUMMIT COUNTY - This January marks the 15th annual National Mentoring Month and Mountain Mentors’ 29th year of providing quality mentoring to youth in Summit County. Summit County Youth and Family Services is inviting residents to honor the occasion by becoming mentors for local children and teens.

“Mountain Mentors is an extremely effective program that continues to grow, thanks to incredible community support,” Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said. “Dozens of caring adults in Summit County volunteer as mentors every year, and we’re so grateful for their participation. Having a mentor truly empowers young people to make smart choices that put them on a path to making healthy life decisions.”

Research shows that quality mentoring can have significant, positive effects in the lives of young people, including improved academic, social and economic outcomes. A 2014 report commissioned by the National Mentoring Partnership found that young people who had been at risk for not completing high school but who had a mentor were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who had not had a mentor. Young people who had a mentor were also:

  • 81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
  • 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

“Mentoring not only increases a young person’s odds for success – it also strengthens our community as a whole,” said Shawna Lane, Mountain Mentors program supervisor. “We see first-hand that the benefits of mentoring carry over into classrooms, families and peer groups.”

Today in Summit County, Youth and Family Services supports 40 children and teens matched with adult mentors. Still, 65 local students are currently on the waiting list for a mentor.

“We are challenging community members to join the movement and sign up today to be a mentor,” Lane said. “Let a young person know that he or she holds a valuable place in our Summit County community. Mentoring builds relationships that are as meaningful for the mentor as they are for the young person.”

Mountain Mentors pairs adult volunteers with youth ages 8 through 16. Each volunteer must be at least 21 years old and make a one-year commitment to meeting eight hours per month with his or her mentee. Activities can include helping with schoolwork, going to a recreation center or spending time outdoors. Mountain Mentors is an affiliate of the Colorado Mentoring Partnership.

To learn more about becoming a Mountain Mentor, or to refer a prospective mentee to the program, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/mentor, or contact Shawna Lane at 970-668-9182 or Shawna.Lane@SummitCountyCO.gov. Community members can help spread the word about the program by liking “Mountain Mentors Colorado” on Facebook.

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