The Ment to Matter program is gearing up for another school season and looking for new high school-aged mentors.
Ment to Matter is a school mentoring program entering its third year in Sylvan Lake. The program trains high school students from H.J. Cody to work with and mentor students in elementary or middle school.
Krista Carlson, the youth services supervisor, says the program has grown and seen tremendous success since its inception.
“Each year we do a survey of the mentors and mentees, and both say they have come away with increased self-confidence and self-esteem,” Carlson said.
The program trains high school students in Grades 10-12 to handle a variety of situations and how to build a relationship with their mentee.
Carlson says support will be given to the mentors so they always have someone to turn to as well, especially in some of the more difficult situations.
“Some kids could be having a hard time with any number of things from stress to anxiety to bullying,” Carlson said. “We train the mentors as best we can but let them know there are those they can turn to when they need help as well.”
Those interested in mentoring can apply and give references to the mentoring coordinator. Interviews will be done to ensure the right people are applying for the right reasons.
Carlson said they are looking for high school students who can commit one lunch time per week to the program. She added, those who are thinking about a career with children, like education for example, are encouraged to apply.
“I’d like to see more males apply as well. We tend to get more females than males in this program,” Carlson said, adding last year there was only one male mentor.
“It’s nice to have a good mix of genders because sometimes a young boy won’t feel comfortable opening up to an older female.”
Carlson says a mentor needs to be highly committed to the program to be accepted.
“I understand there are other groups and extracurriculars a student may be a part of, but to be accepted the student must be able to commit their own lunch time and some class time to the program,” she said.
There are a lot of benefits to the program, according to Carlson. She called the Ment to Matter program a good resume builder for both post-secondary for for job searches.
Students may also be able to receive credit for the course through leadership or work experience.
“I think the biggest positive is helping another. In last year’s survey 93 per cent of our mentors said they felt they made a positive difference in another’s life.”
Anyone from middle school or elementary schools in Sylvan Lake can sign up to be a mentee. Carlson says the program works with the schools and school social workers to find those who may be in need of a mentor.
“I think anyone can benefit from a mentor,” said Carlson. “Anyone who needs a little support in life can be a mentee in the program.”
High school students interested in becoming a mentor can contact the mentor coordinator by calling or texting 587-876-4113.
The program trains 40 mentors for the program.