ORONO – UMaine students gear up for another year of tests and reading, but the Black Bear Mentoring Program is providing an additional option by recruiting college mentors for area children this academic year.
In the U.S. 17.6 million children between the ages of 8 and 10 are at risk of not reaching their full potential based on various social issues like poverty, according to MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. Maine has more than 271,000 residents under the age of 18, and in 2008 12.6% of Maine‚Äôs population fell below the national poverty level. These conditions put the potential of Maine‚Äôs youth at risk.
UMaine‚Äôs Black Bear Mentoring program works to enrich the lives of children despite higher poverty rates and other social issues that can harm the self-image and opportunities of area youth.
Black Bear Mentors meet with mentees one-on-one for two hours one afternoon a week and engage in numerous activities from homework to cooking. The relationship provides area youth with a devoted adult for activities as well as to listen to their struggles and successes.
‚ÄúI love watching the mentors as they start to realize how much it means to their mentee to meet with them even two hours a week,‚ÄĚ says Bodwell Center Director Lisa Morin. ‚ÄúThey both get so much out this program, and their smiling faces warm my heart.‚ÄĚ
Research groups, like Child Trends, find that children with mentors have higher educational aspirations, better attendance, better communication with parents, and more positive social attitudes than kids without mentors.
One mentor remarked that the most satisfying part of mentoring was ‚Äúseeing my mentee becoming ambitious and self-assertive- to go further in education.‚ÄĚ
This year the Black Bear Mentoring Program will take part in public service activities like writing letters to soldiers and preparing sandwiches for local food pantries. The Black Bear Mentoring is part of the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and is going into its seventh year of operation.
For more information contact :
Tel. 207. 581.1786
Cell Phone: 920. 252.1112
Contact Name: Erin Lennon
Telephone Number: (920)252-1112