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Growing the mentoring relationship

Tina Baldry

Tina Baldry

By Tina Baldry

The “Stand By Me” Mentoring Program is off to a busy start as we begin the 2013-14 school year. New supplies have been purchased for each of the eight Mentor Centers providing stimulating games and projects for mentors and mentees.

Enrichment activities are underway, as a group of adventurers participated in the Ropes Course where they challenged their minds and bodies, built trust and provided support for each other. Many of the mentees are thinking about training to become Ropes Course leaders when they turn 15.

Other pairs are building their relationship playing mini-golf and attending art and culinary classes. On Nov. 1, more than 30 pairs traveled to Coast Guard Island, Alameda to learn about the role the Coast Guard plays in protecting our shores.

The calendar is filled with activities designed to grow the mentoring relationship, expose children to new experiences and spark an interest that leads to higher education and job opportunities. These events help mentees learn about time management, commitment, community service, relationship-building skills and career exploration.

Research shows that it is the “length and strength” of a mentoring relationship that leads to the greatest positive outcomes for the youth we serve.

Funded by a three-year grant from Gary and Marcia Nelson, the “Stand By Me” program now provides wrap-around services to ensure that every match has the support needed to last a lifetime. Mentors are offered on-going education, forums, workshops and counseling services throughout the year. Dr. Sandy Zimmermann provides personal coaching, as well as monthly support groups for mentors, in an effort to sustain and strengthen their mentoring connection.

To help create an enriching experience for the child, Lora Grimes and her team of coaches are working with our youth to help them understand the role that they play in the mentoring relationship. Through a series of interactive classes, small groups of mentees are trained in communication skills, trust-building, responsibility and respect.

The “Stand By Me” Mentoring Program currently serves approximately 450 children who are matched one-on-one with a caring adult role model from our local community. If you would like to become a mentor or support our cause, please visit sonomamentoring.org. Remember, the life you change may be your own.