Youngstown Schools seek mentors for new outreach program

Training for mentors who are part of Youngstown Schools' Community Connectors program was held at Choffin Career and Technical Center on Monday night.
Training for mentors who are part of Youngstown Schools' Community Connectors program was held at Choffin Career and Technical Center on Monday night.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Melanie Ross and dozens of other mentors met at Choffin Career and Technical Center on Monday night to learn how to become a better mentor, all part of the Community Connectors program.

The Youngstown Business and Education Community Connectors (YBECC) is funded by a grant through the State of Ohio’s Community Connectors initiative, designed to provide students with internships, job shadowing and mentoring opportunities. The Youngstown City School District, which enacted the program locally, is promoting hopefulness and workforce readiness among the student body involved in Community Connectors.

Ross said having a mentor is important to student success.

“It’s important to me to give them what was instilled in me, to give them a chance,” she said.

One of the speakers, Ronald King, talked to the group about the difference in mentoring today’s youth.

“One of the biggest challenges that I think that any mentor is going to have with mentoring today’s students is understanding who they are and where they are,” he said.

King says it is important for mentors to find a way to relate to their mentees, so that they see them as a positive influence.

“We have so many kids who not only need help, but believe it or not, we have a lot of kids that want help,” he said. “They really want guidance. They want direction. They want to believe in their future.”

The program’s director, Loisjean Haynes-Paige, said she hopes mentors walk away from the meeting knowing how to communicate and connect with teens.

“A lot of our young people do not have anyone to talk to or to relate to,” she said.

And that is the reason Ross was at this meeting.

“I had the opportunity to be loved by the entire neighborhood in my age group. The next generation, they don’t have that opportunity,” Ross said.

The goal is to match 100 juniors and seniors with mentors in the community to give them internships and teach the importance of having a positive character. Partners in the initiative include the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, City of Youngstown, Eastern Gateway Community College an ACTION. Participating schools include Chaney and East high schools and Choffin.

“It takes a village to raise a child, so we’re all kicking in so we can be there for our young people here in Youngstown,” Haynes-Paige said.

To become involved as a mentor, contact Loisjean Haynes-Paige at 330-744-8759.

Another training session for mentors, mentees and parents will be held November 23.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s