Youth Mentorship Program Moving Forward Print
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Written by Jason Madison   
Thursday, 18 May 2017 07:38

On Thursday, May 18th, the community heard an update on how things are coming along with the 1-to-1 Youth Mentorship Program for Mahaska County.

The second forum was held at the Iowa State Extension Office. United Way of Mahaska County Executive Director Amy Meyer and other organizers brought parents, teachers, volunteers, and community leaders together to talk about how the program that may impact the lives of local kids is evolving. The last public forum took place in January.

"We've had so many conversations," Meyer said. “We've gone on a lot of field trips to some other mentorship organizations. We've come to the conclusion that, as an advisory group, that we really want to pursues a partnership with Big Brother Big Sisters. We can't be an independent Big Brother Big Sisters, but we can fall under the umbrella of an existing one, so we fall under the Johnson County. We have gone to Iowa City a few times to talk to them and they have been so supportive of us and really want to see our program take off in our community."

Oskaloosa will be a satellite site of the Big Brother and Big Sisters of Johnson County, but will be called Big Brother and Big Sisters of Mahaska County. Meyer says this will give the program some oversight for the initial year and cover some of the administrative duties.

"There are just going to be a lot of advantages to having their support," Meyer said. “There are some people in the office who have been doing it 30-40 years. We don't want to reinvent the wheel. We don't want to start from scratch, and start a program when there are people who have a world of experience. They know how to recruit mentors, they know what kind of training it is going to take, they've just done it for so long they really have a great model that we really respect and want."

Meyer says that the committee now knows what the youth mentorship program will be modeled after, the group will start fundraising and searching for someone to hire on to lead the initiative. Meyer says before the program gets off the ground she hopes the group can raise enough funding to cover the first three years. For more information contact the United Way of Mahaska County at 641-672-6043.