Our Opinion: Consider the rewards of mentoring

Receive the gift of giving.

The selfless act of giving, ironically, reverberates with satisfaction for the giver.

Similarly, sharing our knowledge and experience helps us learn.

In this new year, one of the many ways a person can volunteer is by giving and sharing their time and talents as a mentor for students.

As a testament to the rewards of mentoring, longtime mentor Gloria Overfelt said: “The kids have taught me as much as I could have taught them.”

The mentoring program in the local public schools, Jefferson City Champions, is seeking to match mentors and students in January — the observance of National Mentoring Month and the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

From its early partnerships between two churches and two elementary schools, the program has grown and now is associated with the Characterplus initiative.

The program is designed to ease volunteers into their roles as mentors. Eight training sessions are provided after volunteers complete an application, interview and background check.

And only 20 minutes a week are required of mentors, although the partnerships frequently flourish into much more time spent together.

“We’re asking volunteers to be a friend and role model — not tutor, parent, disciplinarian or social worker,” said Kurt Hafley, coordinator of mentoring.

He added serving as a mentor “will open the door for many kids in our district who might need that extra support. It could make a difference.”

Mentoring could make a difference not only for the student, but for the volunteer as well.

What a rewarding way to begin a new year.

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