“There is no greater gift you can give than the gift of time.” That sentiment is what Dave O’Keeffe and the Communities In Schools of Lakewood (CISL) staff and board of directors live by. CISL is actively recruiting new mentors, especially men. Meeting with a child one hour a week can mean the difference between a child growing into a healthy adult or faltering and dropping out. A month-long recruiting campaign during “January Mentor Month” has brought in several women but few men. We currently have seven boys, ages 9-12, who need a caring adult in their life. Training is provided and mentoring happens on the school campus between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Over the past two years the Champions Mentor Program has grown from 25 mentors in five schools, to 54 mentors in nine schools. Mentors come from all walks of life, and are carefully screened and trained before that start with a student in grades 4-9. “Generally, when you talk to someone who is successful in life, they attribute their success to the help of a mentor or mentors,” says O’Keeffe. “It is quite amazing how many children have little or no support from a parent.”
Jill Gilliom, counselor at Tillicum Elementary has referred 14 students this year for mentors. She explains that “schools are busy places with many children per adult. Our staff tries hard, but it is difficult to give more than a few minutes of undivided attention to any one student. The mentor program gives students a chance to have some extended, one to one attention that school staff can not provide. When things are not going well at home or school, time with a mentor provides a safe place where kids can just be themselves without that pressure. Our kids soak up the undivided attention like sponges, and thrive with it!”
Everyone wins in the mentoring process, including the mentors. At the monthly support and training meetings we hear mentors share about how much they look forward to seeing their student. There is no greater gift you can give than the gift of time. To mentor in a Clover Park school, contact Dave O’Keeffe or Christina Klas at 589-7489 or download an application at our Website: www.lakewood.ciswa.org.