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Mentoring program recruiting new members

Staff Reporter

crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com

COVINGTON -- There's a kid out there who needs someone to look up to, and this Thursday night, you've got the chance to be that someone.

The Newton Mentoring Program is hosting a recruitment open house to find mentors for students in the local school system. The event takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Porter Memorial Library, located at 6191 Ga. Highway 212.

"January is National Mentoring Month. Each January, there is a big push on recruitment. Our goal is to recruit new mentors. They have the opportunity to meet current mentors to find out more about the program and talk to other people involved, get all the paperwork and get a brochure about the program," said Newton Mentoring Program Executive Director Margaret Washington.

The non-profit was formed in 2008 and partners with the local school system to assist children in need of some extra attention, both academically and personally. Typically, a school counselor or teacher recommends a child, and, once parental permission is obtained, the child is partnered with a mentor who commits to spending at least one hour a week with the child at school. Activities vary, from homework, to playing sports and games, to just sitting and talking, Washington said. Often, kids are just looking for an adult to provide attention they may not be getting at home, Washington said.

"We encourage them to find out what their needs are and help in whatever area the child needs help," she said.

Mentors must be at least 18 years old and have their own transportation. They must also undergo a national criminal background check, take a two-hour training course and commit to mentoring at least one hour per week during the school year.

Currently, the program has about 75 mentors, but there is a need for more, especially men, since two-thirds of referrals are boys, Washington said.

"Once you do it, it is very rewarding," she said.

For more information about Newton Mentoring, call 678-381-7948, email newtonmentor@yahoo.com or visit www.newtonmentoring.org.