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EDITORIAL: January is National Mentoring Month

— Mentors are making a difference here in Baldwinsville through a unique partnership between the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center and the Baldwinsville Central School District. Mentors meet with their student during the school day once a week throughout the academic year to provide an extra layer of one-on-one support.

The Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Program has been in existence in one form or another for nearly 45 years and is one of the few programs of its kind in Onondaga County. Understanding and believing in the value of a Mentoring Program, it is due to the leadership and willingness of school staff here in our school district to go above and beyond that has enabled this program to continue and expand.

To be a mentor, you don't need special skills, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person. Currently, there are 65 students who are paired up with either an adult mentor or a high school junior or senior in all of our elementary schools, Ray Middle School and Durgee Junior High. This year for the first time, there is a mentor who continues to meet with her student at Bake, marking their fifth year together.

We all win when young people succeed in school. Research proves that caring volunteers working with students of all ages have the power to help kids boost academic achievement and also improved self-esteem and social skills.

“The Volunteer Center would like to thank all of our mentors for their time and dedication,” said Nancy Conley, executive director of the BVC. “Our Mentoring Program could not continue without these special volunteers.”

If you would like more information about becoming a mentor, please call the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center at 638-0251. You'll be amazed by how much you'll get out of the experience.

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