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Group seeks mentors to help area students

Partners For Success is seeking help from the public to assist McDuffie County Schools in making Annual Yearly Progress.

"Mentoring is such a critical component for the education and well-being of the high-risk students in our community," said Miriam Smith, the executive director of Partners For Success.

"And we need it now more than ever, to help make AYP."

As the Communities in Schools site for McDuffie County, Partners For Success had 43 mentors last year -- a record high number. And they need even more this year.

"We currently have more parents and teachers requesting mentors than we have actual mentors," Mrs. Smith said. "Please help us find more volunteers to work with students that may be struggling in school and/or at home."

Last year, students of all ages were so excited to be with their mentor, that they made it a point to be at school even if they normally had a problem with attendance. Mrs. Smith said that is half the battle.

"Attendance increases the amount of time the child is spending in instruction, decreases behavior problems and raises self-esteem. And that means a greater chance of success in education," she said.

Volunteers who sign up to be a mentor will receive 45 minutes of training, which will includes learning resources available in the community to share with the student. Mentors who help elementary-aged students are encouraged to read to them. However, tutoring is not a requirement.

"A mentor serves as an adult companion, a positive role model and a guide," Mrs. Smith said.

Ninety percent of last year's mentored students requested to have their same mentor again this year.

"That shows how much they love and appreciate having their mentors," Mrs. Smith said.

Mentors meet with their students once a week for 20-30 minutes, and that can include eating lunch with them, according to Mrs. Smith. Mentoring is only allowed in the student's school or at the PFS office on White Oak Road.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can call Partners For Success at 706-595-3112.

All mentors must undergo a background check before they may begin working with a child.

Web posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010

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