CUMMING, Ga. — Mentors were honored and Mentor Me North Georgia celebrated 15 years serving Forsyth County children during this year’s “Magic Moments” breakfast held at Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
Mentor Me is a non-profit organization that provides one-on-one mentoring relationships between volunteer adults and children who need role models in their lives.
Sara Harrison was named female mentor of the year. Bill Schabel was male mentor of the year. Jaclyn and Stephen Bacon were couple mentors of the year.
Judge Russell Jackson also was recognized as he was a founding member of Mentor Me North Georgia and the first judge in Forsyth County to serve full time as a juvenile court judge.
The organization’s first mentor-mentee match in Forsyth County was made in 2002. In 2016 match number 400 was celebrated. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, Mentor Me sponsors the REACH program where volunteers provide homework assistance, summer camps that focus on reading and language skills and Kick it Up clubs in middle and high schools where business professionals speak to students encouraging academic and graduation success.
“We see lives changed by the positive role of mentors,” said Jayne Iglesias, board chair of Mentor Me. “We have seen our students graduate and receive scholarships. We have witnessed the relief of families as they watch their child connect with an adult. And we have seen the wide eyes of students realizing they can be successful.”
The group has served more than 2,000 children in Mentor Me programs during the past 15 years, she said.
“We are grateful for the support of our community,” Iglesias said. “But we continue to need help. Fifty children are currently on our waiting list hoping for mentors. I encourage our neighbors to consider volunteering as mentors. You can change the life of a child.”
Most of the children in the one-on-one mentoring program live in single-parent homes, or live with grandparents or foster parents. Statistics show that children in mentoring programs are less likely to start using drugs. And they show improvement in academic performance and behavior.
Mentor Me is a Forsyth County United Way agency. However, the organization depends on private donations for 50 percent of its funding. To volunteer or make a donation, contact executive director Sylvia Cardona at 678-341-8028, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to their website mentorGA.org.