Mentoring program needs volunteers

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 9, 2006

A new program at the Brown YMCA aims to help produce self-actualized youth by combining the philosophy of spirit, body and mind.

And they need your help to do that.

The program received a shot in the arm with a $584,362 grant from the federal government.

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That provides the funding, but

volunteers are needed to make the program work.

Organizers say this is the only mentoring program in the Selma and Dallas County area.

The YMCA Selma Triangle Mentoring Program will connect three community pillars -churches, Selma City Schools and Dallas County Schools. The three entities will focus on the greatest needs of children in grades six through eight.

The federal grant will be distributed over a three-year period and the YMCA hopes to match 50 children with mentors this year.

The YMCA is currently working with two churches – Elwood Baptist Church and Tabernacle of Praise – and two schools – Selma Middle CHAT Academy and the School of Discovery.

The YMCA’s goal is to match 150 children with mentors over a three-year period.

The program has only six mentors thus far, all matched with students from the School of Discovery. Mentors are needed and the organization encourages involvement from the community.

In order to become a mentor, one must fill out an application and undergo a background check, a 15-minute interview and a training session.

Once a child is assigned to a mentor, each will receive a one-year membership to the YMCA. The Y asks that all mentors have at least a one-year commitment to the program. The YMCA will plan small group outings on a monthly basis to strengthen the relationship between the children and the mentors.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor and helping with this program, call 872-1496.