Program Seeks New Mentors
ROCKVILLE, MD—Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is partnering with other local agencies to match children who are involved in the court system with mentors who can provide support, guidance and friendship to help these children improve their school performance.
“This partnership is a way to help some troubled children get back on the road to success in school and in life,” said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “When we all come together with a common purpose, we can do great things to help the children of our community.”
The multiagency partnership plans to match children with mentors across Montgomery County. Since the program began in December, 12 children have been matched with mentors. The program is the idea of Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Katherine Savage. Judge Savage sought the support of Superintendent Weast and Councilmember Michael Subin to begin the program.
“In my years as a juvenile court judge, I saw countless youngsters who were in dire need of some consistent, supportive adult figure in their lives. If we can match kids with caring adults, I am convinced that these children will be able to turn their lives around and get back on track,” said Judge Savage. “I believe that the mentors find this to be a truly rewarding experience and value the relationships they form with these children.”
County Councilmember Subin, who was instrumental in moving this partnership and program forward said, “I am ecstatic that we have been able to secure this unique and consequential partnership that will undoubtedly make a big difference in the lives of these kids.”
The program is being run by YMCA Youth & Family Services. Other partners include the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and the Circuit Court of Montgomery County.
Children eligible for the program are involved in the child welfare system because of abuse or neglect, or they may be involved in the criminal justice system.
One of the key goals of the program is to help students improve their school performance and reduce truancy and suspensions. In addition, the program hopes to mentor children who may be at risk of gang involvement.
The program is looking for mentors from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Male and female volunteers are welcome, and bilingual mentors are especially needed. Mentors must be willing to make a one-year commitment and be willing to meet regularly with their students.
For more information about the program or to volunteer, contact Ottoniel Perez at 301-585-2120, ext. 2574, or at 202-438-5051.