The District 205 Youth Mentoring Program was established in 2000 with the purpose of making connections and establishing positive relationships and success for students who benefit from the additional support of a one-to-one mentorship with a caring adult. Adult volunteers meet with a middle or high school student once-a-week for about 40 minutes during the school day. Adults of at least 30 years of age are welcome to apply. Applications are taken in the fall.
For more information about the District 205 Youth Mentoring Program, please call the Office of Communications at 630/941-4719.
The Meaning of Mentors
First, I'd like to say thank you to all mentors who have dedicated their time to meet with high schoolers and middle schoolers. I know that, being a mentor can be difficult at times, going back and forth to the schools. You’re doing this out of the kindness of your heart, I know that things can get stressful and confusing when schedules change and you are none the wiser, or when your mentee fails to show up, but we mentee's are very grateful for all you do.
To me mentors don’t have to be someone who teaches you to succeed academically. Mentors are much more than that, much more important. You teach us how to succeed socially. You help us understand the kindness of others, the ability to take a step back and look at a situation from a different angle.
I have benefitted through the mentor program since I was in sixth grade, am. a senior now and I have had a wonderful time with my mentor Mrs. Marie Taylor. We were so lucky to meet. If we never met, we would never have been able to form such a strong friendship – a friendship I plan on keeping for as long as possible.
For me middle school was rough, I got teased and made fun of, but I continued to go to school thanks to the encouragement I received from. my mentor. In mid.dle school, kids are trying to figure out what clique to belong to and their social health is more important than their mental health. I realized that, but decided I'd rather have a friend who I could talk to about anything than to have several friends who don't care what I have to say. That's the decision many of us made, and that is why we showed up every week to meet with our friend.
My mentor helped me through many hard and difficult times, almost like having a therapist without having to pay a fortune, and for that I will be forever grateful to her.
I have many friends who had, and some still have, mentors. We'll talk about how fun our mentors are. We'll talk about how nice it is to have someone to talk to, someone on the outside looking in; no bias, no notion of whom we're talking about. We can speak our minds and not have rumors spread. Our mentors are one of the few people we can comfortably confide in and not worry that they are going to spread our secrets or talk about us behind our backs.
Having a mentor helps so many of us. I know we may not always show it, but having someone to talk to or play games with gives us a chance to unwind. We are so grateful that you are willing to take time out of your day to come to the schools and spend time with us, for no pay at all. Having mentors is the best thing for many people; it gives them that one person to talk to. And when you've had a hard week and don't want to talk to friends or family, a mentor is the next best thing.
I want to state that the mentor program should NEVER be taken away from our middle schools or high schools. The mentor program helps too many to take it away. I am one of those whom the program has helped. If only we could extend it into college, but that may just have to be get-togethers between the mentor and mentee.
Again, thank you for all that you do, and for committing your time to help us teens and pre-teens and for being there when we need you.
By Jacque Ganinger, York High School Class of 2011, used with permission