Members of the community are serving at Banks County Middle School as mentors for some of the students.
The new mentoring program is being coordinated by counselor Tressa Dodd, who is seeking more volunteers to meet with students once a week for 30 minutes. The mentors serving as an encourager to the students and talk with them about things they are dealing with, including both academic and social issues.
The mentors undergo training before being assigned a student to meet with each week. Twenty-one mentors are now serving but school leaders would like to have others to volunteer so that the program an be offered to more of the students. The current mentors include teachers, employees from the Banks County Sheriff’s Office and other business leaders.
“The mentor serves as an extra positive person in the student’s life,” Dodd said.
The mentors play games with the students, check on their grades, help with homework and talk about issues and how to resolve them.
School resource officer Jeff Bohannon said he often eats lunch with his mentees and said the students always look forward to this time. He said they make talk about things going on in school or the student’s home life.
“The kids enjoy it,” he said.
BCSO investigator Chris Shelnut said he enjoys serving as a mentor because it is a change to let young kids know law enforcement officers are someone they can talk to.
“You want to serve others,” he said of his participation in the program.
Bryan Lord, also an employee of the sheriff’s office, said he and his student talk about problems the boy may be having and ways to resolve them.
“We might go outside and throw the football around,” he said. “If he has something he wants to get off his chest, we talk about it.”
Deputy Kyle Walker said it is rewarding to have a positive impact on someone who is getting started in life. He said his mentee is very goal-oriented and they talk about his career plans.
“When I leave here, I smile,” Walker said. “I enjoy getting to know the student.”
Jan Armour is the school nurse but she also serves as a mentor to a girl at the school.
“Sometimes we play dominoes,” she said. “It is not only fun but educational as it helps her with her math skills. Mentoring is a wonderful program. It helps me tri-fold what it helps my students.”
Those interested in volunteering to serve as a mentor are asked to call Dodd at BCMS at 706-677-2277.
For more on the mentoring program, see this week's issue of The Banks County News.