Lake County Youth Mentor Program FAQs
The Starfish Story
There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a frail old man. As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water.
He asked, "Old man, why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?" The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.
"But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish!" exclaimed the young man. "How can you make a difference?"
The old man looked at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to the safety of the sea, he said, "It makes a difference to this one!"
What is a mentor?
A mentor is a friend and a positive role model in a child’s life. Mentors do not replace parents; they are simply an added support who can help put life back into perspective when things get rough. Mentors listen objectively and encourage positive decision-making. They exemplify good character and inspire their mentee to do the same.
Who are the kids?
The kids are those who are struggling with issues of school performance, peer pressure, or poor decision making. They are in grades K-12.
Mentoring is a research-proven strategy for helping youth stay in school and resist using drugs. Many youth need additional support to make good choices and plan for their future. Lake County has a large number of youth who are "at-risk". Having a mentor can provide opportunities, hope, and the encouragement needed to believe in oneself and make positive choices.
What is the commitment?
The Youth Mentor Program requires that you make at least a one-year commitment to your mentee. We ask that you meet once a week for at least one hour. Mentors must undergo criminal and personal reference checks, participate in an interview, and attend some basic training.
Does it cost me anything?
There is no a charge to the mentor. At this time there are limited funds available to pay for activities. However, we will provide mentors with a variety of activity ideas that are either free or inexpensive. You may choose to pay for an occasional activity that you both enjoy, but it is definitely not required nor expected.
What do I do with my mentee?
You are welcome to do anything you and your mentee would like, such as going bowling, riding bikes, hiking, shooting hoops, playing games, or one of the many activities on the list we will provide. We will also host some group mentoring activities throughout the year.