YMCA looking for mentors

Published 11:05 pm Friday, January 27, 2017

The Selma and Dallas County YMCA’s Reach and Rise Mentoring Program is looking for more people to serve as role models.

Martha Pilcher, program director, said the program currently has four mentors and could add three more at the next training session, but she hopes to get to 20 mentors by April.

“We need someone to meet with these children on where they are, and someone to celebrate with them when they rise and sit down with them when they fall and be there for them just as a supportive, positive role model,” Pilcher said.

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Mentors, who are paired with a child between ages six and 16, are asked to commit to a year of mentoring, and are asked to meet with their mentee one to three hours a week.

Pilcher said different mentors do different things with the children they are serving as role models, whether it is helping with school work or just being their friend.

“I have developed a very sweet friendship with this little girl,” said Pud Glover, one of the program’s mentors. “We’ve been roller skating, we’ve been to the library, we’ve been to the Walton Theater. I’ve just developed this nice friendship with her that otherwise I wouldn’t have.”

While the program is designed to help youth, it also benefits the mentors.

“You think you’re doing something for somebody else, but in turn it enriches your life too,” Glover said.

“It gives you an opportunity to reach out to somebody else in our community, and that’s what we need in our city, our state and our country.”

Glover said she hopes to see others taking on mentorships and helping others in the community.

“It’s one of those things that when you start it you realize how important and meaningful it is, and if there is any little tug in your heart to do it, then you need to act on it,” she said, encouraging others to join the program.

Leon Wesley, another one of the mentors in the program, is helping his mentee with school work by motivating him to get better grades.

“My focus with him is to not just worry about what we’re going to do for fun. I want him to understand that having fun is a privilege,” he said. “You’ve got to do good in school and excel in other things in order to have fun because fun comes with all of that.”

Wesley said being a mentor has also taught him a thing or two.

“It’s a change for me because it is helping me understand how to be a leader for somebody, how to be a role model for somebody who comes from a different background,” he said.

Wesley said his mentee is a big fan of Jalen Hurts, quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide, so he promised him if he got his grades up, he would take him to the A-Day game in the spring.

“That’s our number one goal right now,” he said. “The only thing he talks about is Jalen Hurts, so I told him if you get all A’s and B’s on your report card, we can go to the game and hopefully meet him.”

Wesley said he hopes to see others taking part in the YMCA’s program.

“This is one step where you could make that first step of helping out your community,” he said. “It’s simple. If you’re serious about your community, get out and do something positive.”

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor, or those that want to referral a child, can contact Pilcher at 327-1489 or Martha@ymcaofselma.com or stop by the YMCA to pick up a form.