Local school seeks more mentors for next school year

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Damien Coleman said the school year wouldn’t be the same had it not been for the mentoring program at his school.

Coleman, a fifth-grade student at Baker Intermediate School, said he’s been going to mentoring once a week for nearly the whole school year, and it has helped him become a better student and person.

Brett Cheuvront is Coleman’s mentor through the Partners in Education program. He mentors Coleman and another fifth-grade student and plans to continue mentoring next year.

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During his time with the students, Cheuvront said they usually do an activity together and talk about their day, problems and more.

“I just kind of give them advice and try to teach them skills,” Cheuvront said.

He even sets goals for them to achieve.

“My goal for (Damien) is to get out and play outside,” Cheuvront said.

But the main thing, Cheuvront said, is ensuring they are happy, healthy children.

“My thing for them is to try to make themselves happy,” he said. “When you have a happy heart, your life is a lot easier.”

Cheuvront said he became a mentor last year because he wanted to help people, and he wished he had a mentor at a young age.

“If I could help a troubled child or just a child that needs someone to talk to, just to have fun like the crafts that we did, and it could… change the rest of their life, to have someone show up every single week and listen to them,” Cheuvront said.

Susan Jacobs, assistant principal at Baker, said the mentoring program has grown significantly over the years.

During the first year of mentoring about five years ago, they only had a handful of mentors. Now, more than 50 volunteers mentor in some capacity to Baker students.

“Now, we have multiple mentors that come in during school, after school,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said Baker has mentors in various capacities whether it’s through Partners in Education, through programs off-site such as at the Rowland Arts Center and more.

“We service over 100 students now, so it has grown quite significantly,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said teachers nominate students to be a part of the program or students can nominate themselves. Parents can also nominate their children to be a part of one of the programs.

“I love when students nominate themselves because they know themselves best,” Jacobs said. “They know what they need. We’ve had a lot of kiddos, develop friendships, positive friendships… We’ve seen improvement all around and in attendance. Great behavior.”

Jacobs said it’s important students develop positive relationships with adults at a young age.

“I think the kiddos this age are getting out, looking forward to the point where they’re really finding themselves and deciding which path they want to follow,” Jacobs said. “If we can steer them to a really positive path…”.

Jacobs said anyone interested in being a mentor can contact her at susan.jacobs@clark.kyschools.us. Mentors can visit once a month or once a week; Jacobs said she will work with the mentor to find a schedule that works best. It is about a 30 to 60 minutes commitment.

“We are really grateful to this community for support,” she said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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