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The Clear Creek Rock House youth center is looking to the community for volunteer mentors. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Rock House provides the county’s youth with free mentoring, …
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The Clear Creek Rock House youth center is looking to the community for volunteer mentors.
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Rock House provides the county’s youth with free mentoring, tutoring, after-school programs and special events.
Mary Robertson, the mentor program coordinator, said the youth outreach program is geared toward sixth- through 12th-grade students.
Students in need of mentoring are recommended to the program from their schools. They are then, ideally, paired up with one male or female adult volunteer mentor — much like the Big Brothers or Big Sisters of America program.
“It’s for kids that need a little extra adult interaction in their lives,” Mary said of the mentoring program.
Mary said this year all of their “mentees” are sixth-graders. This year 13 students are interested in being mentored but there are only seven volunteers.
“We would prefer to have one-on-one, and we don’t have (it) right now,” she said. “We’re kind of having to spread ourselves thin.”
She added that it is especially difficult to find male mentors willing to dedicate their free time to the project, which currently only requires one Tuesday evening a week.
“I would say that we have more boys this year than we did last year and a couple of the (male volunteers) had other obligations and weren’t able to be here this year,” Mary said. “It’s really important because they join the program knowing that they are going to have a mentor, and if they don’t it’s just a little discouraging for them.”
Mary’s husband Bill Robertson, a pastor at the First Baptist Church in Idaho Springs, knows first-hand how important it is for a boy to have a mentor. He has volunteered his time to the non-profit for the past two years and before he mentored in the Big Brothers program.
“I care about kids. Particularly, I care about boys who don’t have a father figure in their lives,” Bill said. “My dad died when I was 10 years old, and I had a couple of relatives who really sort of took on that role in my life.”
Bill said because of that he recognizes the value of that relationship. He takes the students on hikes and to do community-service projects.
This past Tuesday he brought some of the mentees to Red Rocks. One had never seen the park before.
Bill said one measure to tell whether the mentoring is helping is to see if the kids want to be there and if they come back. He said it’s often clear to him that they do.
“I mean after we got done at Red Rocks, one of them said, ‘Can we come here and do this next week?’” Bill said. “You know, to get that out of a 13-year-old boy — that is not insignificant.”
To be a mentor, Bill said you have to do an honest check with yourself.
“I think the first thing is you really have to ask yourself if you can to do it, if you care enough to want to do it,” Bill said. “Don’t do it because you think you’re going to get a feather in your cap or a pat on the back — do it because you really care about kids.”
Bill said if a mentor cares about the kids, the reward is in the effort and a sense of giving back not only in the life of the kid but to the community, to the county and to the schools.
“Doing stuff like (mentoring) I mean there is an element of fun ... going to Red Rocks was fun for me, too,” Bill said. “So there is something that brings out your own kid in yourself to do that kind of thing.”
For information about mentoring for Clear Creek Rock House call 303-567-4950.
Contact Ian Neligh at courant
firstname.lastname@example.org, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.
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