For the Madison Area Resource Team’s final weekly partner spotlight and in honor of “National Mentoring Month,” a spotlight is being shined on the Madison County Mentor Program. The Madison County Mentor Program began with 18 mentors (two of whom are still active mentors) and 18 mentees at Madison County Middle School over 20 years ago.

The program is present in every school in the district now, and the current number of students paired with a mentor is 216. (This number is lower than normal since many mentors are taking a break until they feel safe returning to the program because of COVID.)

The program’s success is due in large part to Director Shirley Aaron, one of the founders, and to the dedicated mentors and knowledgeable school counselors. Aaron had the prompting to start the program after visiting Clarke County’s Mentor program and after attending a Schools of Excellence conference in Vermont. The conference highlighted the positive impact of having a school mentor program.

That same positive impact has been found in Madison County’s program. Some of the benefits of the program include improvement in student attendance, grades, attitudes and behaviors, which lead to graduation.

Individuals wishing to make a positive impact in the community by becoming a mentor can do so by completing just a few easy steps. These steps include: 1) completing an application 2) submitting to a background check (paid for by the program’s supporters) and 3) participating in a short training session. Mentors are asked to visit with their mentee for two hours per month for one school term.

Right now, there is a huge need for mentors. There are currently 1,973 students on the waiting list wanting to be paired with a mentor. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or want more information about being a mentor, contact Aaron at 706-338-3689 or via email at mcmentor@madison.k12.ga.us.

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