Every Thursday around noon Shelley Eilers packs her things and drives to Iowa Elementary School where she meets her 5th grade friend, Jordan. Shelley, an administrative assistant at Northwest Nazarene University, gives up a lunch hour to invest in a young life as a mentor through The Mentoring Network.
Last November, The Mentoring Network matched Shelley with Jordan, now a 5th grader, from Iowa Elementary School in Nampa. Jordan’s days are full of learning about double and triple digits and the body’s systems. After school, Jordan loves to play defender on her soccer team. She has two kittens and aspires to be a veterinarian some day. Whether they are playing UNO or looking up Jordan’s vocabulary words in the dictionary, it is evident that Shelley and Jordan enjoy their time together.
“Every child needs an adult friend who he/she can look to as a positive role model. As I spend time with Jordan, I hope she can depend on me to help her with things she may be dealing with and to be there for her as a friend,” Eilers said.
Since 1999, The Mentoring Network, Inc. has offered school-based mentoring to rural school-referred, at-risk students in grades 1-8. Students can request to continue to meet with their mentor into high school. Five rural school districts including Nampa, Caldwell, Parma, Homedale and Vallivue benefit from The Mentoring Network.
With the help of programs such as The Mentoring Network, students like Jordan receive extra attention. The goal of the program is to improve attendance, state testing scores, behaviors and self-worth through friendship.
Mentors commit to visiting the student in his or her school for one hour each week. School counselors and teachers recommend a student’s participation in the program. After a mentor becomes available, students obtain parental permission and are then invited to participate.
“Mentoring is an opportunity that works well with my schedule because it only requires one lunch hour each week,” Eilers expressed.
For more information on how you can become a mentor, contact Donna Shines at (208) 459-2844 or visit www.mentoringnetworkID.org.