Mentors guide area youth

STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday marked the beginning of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s “Young Women’s Mentorship Program.”

Three schools are participating in the course that targets girls in sixth through eighth grade.

Dr. Melinda Wolford is leading the program. She is a psychology professor at Youngstown State University and wife of head football coach Eric Wolford.

Wolford will be in the classroom each week with the 25 girls, working with them on “Vision Pursue,” a website that will help the middle school students get in touch with who they really are.

Each girl will do a thought review by answering personal questions about herself. She’ll also be able to create vision boards and monitor how she’s feeling each day.

There’s even a community tab that functions kind of like a Facebook wall. The students and their mentors can message back and forth and track their progress.

All the mentors go back and meet with the girls again in person in May. The site’s creator said he hopes to make Vision Pursue open to the public next month.

“We have women who have stepped up to be part of this program. They are professional women,” said Kathy Mock, director of education and initiative with United Way. “This program is being led by women, and we want to have an impact on this community with our young women of today and tomorrow.”

WKBN 27 First News Anchor Erika Thomas is one of 11 volunteer mentors who helped kick off the two-month program at Struthers Middle School on Tuesday. Each girl received a tablet to use during the program and it will be hers to keep.

There are two other components to the United Way program. One teaches personal finance and another focuses on healthy lifestyle choices.

Those two components will be introduced later at W.S. Guy Middle School in Liberty and Chaney Middle School in Youngstown.

The entire United Way program will run through the fall.

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