Mentor Joseph Hych talks with a Walnut Springs student.
Through a grant from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) called Community Connectors, a new mentoring program has been created at Walnut Springs Middle School. Tim Brown, a former schoolteacher and coach, has provided valuable male mentorship to Westerville middle school boys for the last three years. He decided to apply for an ODE Community Connectors grant with his wife, Karmen Brown, to provide additional mentoring support to both boys and girls attending Walnut Springs. The Browns, along with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), were awarded the grant, and began recruiting and training mentors with the help of the Columbus Mentoring Alliance. Today, a full-scale mentoring program is in place that connects adult men and women in the community with Walnut Springs 8th grade students.
The FCA Character Development Mentoring Program strives to build character and positive life skills. It is designed to assist students in developing skills that will build resilience, improve attendance, increase grades, and foster success in school. The adult mentors will help students make the connection between what is possible and what is attainable, leading to success in the 21st century. Pupils meet twice a week with adult mentors and twice a week with peer mentors from Otterbein University.
“We currently have a waiting list of students who would love to have a mentor,” said Tom Markle, counselor at Walnut Springs. “If you are interested in participating as a mentor, we ask that you volunteer from noon to 1:00 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month.”
For additional information, please e-mail Cynthia DeVese, Coordinator, Minority Student Achievement, Westerville City Schools, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 614/797-5714.