Rockdale County Public Schools and the county juvenile court are celebrating mentors during National Mentoring Month and calling for more people from the community to sign on as a mentor for Rockdale's youth.
April Fallon, director of community and student support, described Rockdale County Public Schools' program and introduced new part-time coordinator Tameka Singh during Thursday's Board of Education meeting.
"The key word is relationships. That’s the most powerful part of mentoring - the relationship that builds between the adult and student, or student to student," said Fallon.
Currently, there are 441 mentees in 12 programs in the school system. The majority of the mentors are RCPS teachers/staff, 199, while 62 mentors are from the community and 87 mentors are high school students particularly with the Rockdale Magnet School program.
"There are certainly many benefits to mentoring," said Fallon. "There are many studies that show when students are paired with a mentor, we do see behavior change. Grades improve."
"Mentors derive great benefits from this as well. I can speak personally as a mentor, thinking about my mentee throughout the day, celebrating her accomplishments, supporting her when things aren’t going so well."
Singh, hired as part of the four-year federal STARS grant, is reaching out to the community to get more businesses and organizations involved, said Fallon. For more information about becoming an RCPS mentor, call 770-864-2620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the court's mentoring program, typically, about 10-15 juveniles are assigned mentors by the Juvenile Court judge.
But more children could be mentored if there were more mentors available.
"We’re hurting with getting mentors for our mentoring program," said Mary Hogan of the Rockdale Juvenile Court.
Mentoring takes about an hour a week and simply involves talking to or spending time with the juvenile, explained Hogan. No special training is needed but volunteers will be required to go through a background check.
Anyone interested in volunteering for mentoring for Juvenile Court is asked to call 770-278-7777.