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Be someone who matters to someone who matters

A Douglas County Partner mentor and mentee go for a ride aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Article by Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of Douglas County Partners

Celebrate the gift of mentoring, and experience the rewards for both mentors and mentees during January – National Mentoring Month. There is no better way to get involved and make a positive difference in an at-risk youth’s life than to become a mentor through the Douglas County Partners (Partners).

Douglas County and Metro Denver Partners have helped more than 16,000 at-risk youth who have been referred to the organization because of problems at school, home, or in the community. After a screening process, a mentee receives a mentor in an effort to fulfill the agency’s mission of promoting a safe and growth-oriented environment that allows all involved in the program to thrive.

Being a mentor means guiding your mentees and supporting their parents. Mentors, who are 21 and older, meet with their mentees approximately three hours a week for at least one year. Together, mentors and mentees share activities and new experiences with the goals of the mentees gaining self esteem, confidence and a sense of empowerment. Academic achievement grows, and positive choices replace negative behavior as new ideas are introduced. In return, mentors receive satisfaction knowing they have impacted a child’s life.

“I had never been a mentor before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it has been a very rewarding experience,” said one mentor. “I appreciate the matching process at Partners … the thoroughness … but boy is it worth it! We’ve shared so many wonderful activities together like going to the zoo, circus, shopping, movies and community service projects. I’m so blessed to have [my mentee] in my life.”

Currently, there are boys waiting to be paired up with a male mentor. Visit www.douglascountypartners.org to attend an orientation and become familiar with the organization, expectations, and mission. After the orientation, the application process can begin.

The theme for the 2014 mentoring program is “Be someone who matters to someone who matters.” Can you think of a better way to become a significant part of an at-risk youth’s life and have them realize their potential? Be someone who matters today, and learn about the Douglas County Partners program.

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