hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

February 8, 2012

Editorial: Mentoring Network could use your help

If you have a little bit of time to spare and are looking for a good cause, you might consider the Haverhill Youth Mentoring Network.

Now in its second year helping kids at Tilton Elementary School, the network has a waiting list for mentors and many more young students who could be referred to the program if more mentors were available. About 30 kids already have mentors.

Mentors spend an hour a week encouraging the kids and helping them with their homework. (See story, Page 1)

"The kids all feel like they have someone special in their life that cares about them," said Nancy London executive director of the program. "They can feel like they're the center of attention for an hour each week."

The mentoring can be done before or after school or during the lunch break.

"We've got professionals that come during their lunch hour, to stay-at-home moms," said Tilton Principal Mary Beth Maranto. "We're not looking for high school kids. We're looking for someone who has wisdom to share their life experiences with kids.''

Volunteers must commit to the program for a year and undergo training, but "you don't need to be a rocket scientist to participate," said John Michitson, city council president and a member of the mentoring network's steering committee.

The network is a collaborative effort of the school district, Team Haverhill, Mass Mentoring and United Way.

More information is available at teamhaverhill.org/hymn.