Being a mentor – Lunchtime sessions giving to both sides

By BARBARA GREEN
The Bowie Elementary mentoring program began with three participants in December 2015. Two years later it has grown to nearly 50 mentors assisting children with not only reading, but also a range of other needs.
Boosting Our Jackrabbits Onward Mentoring Program was initiated by Elementary Counselor Mark Neese, who said he was inspired by a Wichita Falls school program, “Assist with Success.”
The Bowie program joins volunteer mentors with elementary students “to participate in meaningful reading and mentor sessions with the goal of increasing student academic and social improvement.”
Mentors are assigned to individual students in a supportive environment which includes a weekly 30-minute mentoring session during lunch and a 30-minute reading focus.
Neese adds these sessions are confidential and may only be shared with school faculty or staff associated with the specific child. The school began with three mentors and has grown to 46 with four waiting for training. A total of 48 children are being served as two mentors work with two children.
“You can see a difference in these children. they are reading closer to grade level and they are responding well with a desire to read,” explains the counselor. “If a student struggles with reading they don’t want to do it. Research shows they should strive to be reading on grade level by third grade. After that point it is a struggle to catch up and sometimes they don’t, which hurts their chances for the future.”

Read the full story in the weekend News.

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