The dictionary defines a mentor as “a wise and trusted counselor, or an influential sponsor or supporter.” I have been privileged to have had numerous mentors over the course of my lifetime. They have included coaches, Sunday School teachers, youth group sponsors, senior military officers, small group leaders, and fellow pastors. These persons who have invested their time and energy in me have helped me become who I am today. I can’t imagine who or what I’d be without them (and you probably don’t want to know either!).
Mentors are an indispensable part of the program at New Horizons Learning Center, which is located across from our Fusion Campus. The mentoring program there provides positive role models for special needs and at-risk students in grades 6-12. Mentors offer friendship, guidance and emotional support that prepares the students for adulthood. Joining many others from our congregation, I have served as a mentor at New Horizons for the past three years. It has been a rewarding experience that has been mutually beneficial to my student and to me. I have developed a friendship with a young man who is trying to do the right things and make good decisions. He just needs a little guidance and encouragement along the way. I have also learned a lot from him, including some important lessons in gratitude. Mentors are assigned based on gender and personality. Currently, 10 men and 5 women mentors are needed. Our church has a special relationship with New Horizons and we have been given an “open door” of ministry by their faculty and staff. We want to continue to support their efforts in any way we can, so if you are interested in serving as a mentor, please contact Margaret Tidmore (firstname.lastname@example.org; 850-767-1130). You can also find more information about the New Horizons mentoring program at www.becomeamentor.org.
Recognizing the value of mentors, the Bay District School system has initiated a program called Elevate Bay whose stated purpose is “lifting our kids to new heights.” They have set a goal of having 1000 mentors involved in our county’s elementary schools. Classroom mentors work in small groups for academic and behavioral support for the students involved. One-on-one mentors focus on the specific needs of one particular student over time. Lunch buddies provide the extra support and supervision students need outside the classroom. Since our congregation has an on-going partnership with Southport Elementary, we want to participate fully in the program. Training is provided and the time commitment is one hour at the school, at least every other week. If you are interested in being a Southport mentor, please contact Cindy Hansen (email@example.com). Or, if you’d like to volunteer at a different school, get in touch with the county coordinator, Stacey Legg (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Somebody has rightly said that everyone needs a mentor and needs to be a mentor to someone. If you don’t have a mentor already, I encourage you to find someone to fill that role for you. We can all benefit from a mature follower of Christ who will assist us in our spiritual development. I also pray you will seriously consider being a mentor, either to a new Christian in our church family or to a student in our community. Together, with God’s help, we can truly become the Body of Christ in the world.
In Christ's Name,
Craig CarterLead Pastor, LHUMC