High school students needed to help children

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    NEWTON - The Center for Youth is looking for high school students that want to make a difference in the life of a younger child. The center is seeking high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors to serve as mentors to help guide elementary age youngsters to make right choices. The mentors are trained to develop their mentoring skills and then volunteer at least once a week for Center for Youth sessions and help with the center's family events. "High school mentors add a dimension to the program that is incredibly beneficial," said Lynn Dailey, who helps coordinate the program. For the mentors the session consists of three main parts -- mentor time, club activities and processing.  Mentor time is when the elementary school children first arrive at the Center for Youth.  For the first half hour, the children are allowed time to "unwind" from their school day.  They have a snack, play some games and they have time to talk with the mentors.  "It is at this time that the mentors really have a great opportunity to bond with the children, to ask them how they are doing, how their day was, and to really listen to what the children have to say," Dailey explained. Club activities are the main part of a Center for Youth session.  There are two hour-long club activities in each session.  To appeal to various interests, there is a wide range of clubs that are provided for the children, from more athletic clubs like basketball and martial arts to more creative clubs like acting, poetry, and arts and crafts.  According to Dailey, this is the time mentors are an invaluable support to both the children and the Center for Youth staff.  Mentors assist club presenters as well as the staff to ensure a smooth facilitation of a club.  They also spend time with the children, encouraging them in the activities and offering help whenever it is needed. With club activities, mentors also have the opportunity to practice their own leadership and facilitation skills.  They are welcome to facilitate clubs and lead the children in games and group activities. After the children leave for the day, the mentors remain for an additional half-hour processing session. During this time, the mentors have a chance to discuss with the staff their interactions with the children.  They note the progress of the children, skills they are developing and difficulties they may be facing.  The mentors, with the help of Center for Youth staff, are able to "process" the session, ask questions about different mentoring scenarios, and receive feedback on their mentoring skills.  They may even role play with the staff certain sensitive information or confidentiality issues, so they are prepared to assist the child.   For more information about mentoring call Lynn Dailey at 973-383-4787.