Morenci's mentoring program strong at elementary school 11.17.2010

Written by David Green.

After Rosine Downing put out the call for volunteers to help with Morenci Elementary School’s mentoring program, the calls started rolling in.

“Within a week, we had 60 volunteers,” Downing said. “I was really overwhelmed. It was an excellent response.”

With that community assistance, 31 students are getting extra help with their reading skills. Each student involved meets with a mentor at least three times a week.

Volunteers are asked to give at least 30 minutes one day a week in the mentoring lab. Three 30-minute sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Some agree to do more than one session a week.

One teacher received a note from the parent of a child in the program, stating how much he’s enjoyed the adults who are helping him.

“They must be some special people,” the mother wrote.

By meeting with mentors early in the morning, Downing said, the students’ confidence gets built up which helps lead to success throughout the day.

Morenci Elementary School Dean of Students Mary Fisher explained that students are assessed at the start of the year and those needing extra reading help are suggested for the mentoring sessions.

The assessment data helps Downing create lessons tailored for each child in the program, and the academic focus changes as students progress through the year.

“By having the number of mentors we have, we can touch the lives of many students who need some extra help,” Fisher said. “Our students are so lucky to live in a community that cares.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the elementary school by calling 458-7504.

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