Sunday, April 29, 2001
Adult friends offer lifeline to struggling teens
A mentor can be a lifeline to a young person struggling to find
"If you ask kids in academic trouble why they dropped out,
invariably the answer is: Nobody cared about me," says Jay Smink,
executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center at
Clemson University. "Being a mentor says, I care about you and I'm
spending some of my extra time with you."
Here are a few of the mentoring and tutoring programs in Greater
Cincinnati Youth Collaborative
The CYC's mentoring program matches adults with students in
Cincinnati Public Schools, both elementary and high schools. The
program has more than 1,000 mentors and needs an additional 500, says
executive director John Bryant. "The reality is, they can and do
make a difference."
Mentors are role models. They receive training and guidance from
CYC, then work one-to-one with students. Shared activities can range
from job shadowing to attending recreational or cultural events.
Sometimes young people just need someone to listen.
The CYC also operates a tutoring program in which volunteers serve
as academic coaches for elementary and high school students.
The CYC also assists in the recruitment of tutors for HOSTS
(Helping One Student to Succeed), a program offering instruction in
reading and language arts to students in nine Cincinnati elementary
Information: (513) 475-4959 or cycyouth.org.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati
One-on-one and school-based mentoring programs serve children from
ages 8 to 18 in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky;
Hamilton, Clermont and Brown counties in Ohio; and Dearborn and Ohio
counties in Indiana. Volunteers are asked to make a one-year
commitment. More than 400 children are on a waiting list. (513) 421-4120.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association of Cincinnati
This organization primarily serves children in the Jewish
community in Hamilton County who are in need of friendship and
guidance, but children and volunteers of any race or religion are
welcome. Children age 8 to 18 are paired with adult role models.
Volunteers are asked to make a one-year commitment. (513) 761-3200 or
This family-services agency in Anderson Township has both
mentoring and tutoring programs. Adult mentors receive six hours of
training and serve as role models for children 8 to 16 with mental,
emotional or physical problems. Volunteers are asked to make a
one-year commitment. The tutoring program seeks volunteers age 16 and
up who can commit to two hours a week during the school year.
Sessions are held at the Beech Acres campus. (513) 231-6630 or Beechacres.org.
Diocese of Covington, Department of Catholic Education
A mentoring/tutoring program operates primarily in the diocese's
urban schools. In-school volunteers are trained to work with students
in kindergarten through high school. Volunteers can choose their
school and time commitment. (859) 283-6230; ask for Matt Krebs.
St. Joseph Orphanage
Mentors are needed for four to six hours a month to work with
at-risk youth who have been victims of abuse or neglect. Tutors also
needed for an hour or more a week. (513) 481-7350 Ext. 104 or
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati
Tutors are needed at five club locations to assist students age 6
to 18 with homework. (513) 421-8909.
Boys Hope Girls Hope
This residential educational program seeks volunteer tutors to
assist boys and girls in grade 5 through high school. Tutors work one
hour a week, evenings. (513) 721-3380.
Foster Grandparent Program
This Catholic Social Services program puts people age 60 and up in
places such as hospitals, schools and day care to provide one-to-one
attention for young people with special needs. Foster grandparents on
a limited income may be eligible for a stipend. (513) 241-7745.
Foster parents provide safe, nurturing homes for children, from
infants through teens, who have been neglected, abandoned or abused.
In Hamilton County, the goal of the Department of Human Services is
600 foster homes. There are now 450.
Information: (513) 632-6366 or hcfoster.org.
In Northern Kentucky, contact the Kentucky Cabinet for Families
and Children: (859) 292-6340.
- John Johnston
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