Mentoring classes offered at CAP Center

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Sometimes a child just needs someone to listen to them.

That’s where a mentor steps in to show a child that someone does care.

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The Vicksburg Child and Parent Center, 3527 Manor Drive, held a mentorship training session Tuesday for volunteers who were willing to give an hour a week to a child in need of guidance or just a listening ear.

“In such a negative world, we try to be a positive influence on them,” said Laura Gee, mentoring coordinator at the CAP Center. “So many children don’t have somebody extra in their life, in their corner. We serve as that extra resource telling them they can do it.”

The mentors will serve as a strong adult influence while also encouraging their students to work hard. They typically play games, help with homework or just listen to their student during their designated time.

“We play games together. We read together. This is more their time so whatever they would like to do. We talk. We just have fun,” Hilda Moeller, a volunteer for 10 years, said.

She has worked as a mentor throughout the years because she said there is a definite need in the community. She has mentored children going through tough situations, but she said it has been worth every minute.

“Anything we can do to help needy children in our community is part of what we should all should be doing,” Moeller said. “That’s a small thing to do.”

Mentors are typically assigned to one to three students each and will continue to mentor that student for as many years as the student chooses to receive the free service.

The CAP Center works with the Vicksburg Warren School District to coordinating one-on-one meeting times between mentor and student once a week during the school day.

“We take referrals from all the local schools,” Gee said. “Teachers or parents can make a referral, and we try to pair the mentors up with the same students year after year if the student is still interested in remaining in the mentor program.”

Harvey Jones has been mentoring students since the 1980s.

“It’s important to try to give back to the community and try to steer kids in the right direction and try to encourage them to do the right thing,” Jones said. “A lot of times they need some attention other than from at home.”

By being a mentor, he said he tries to shape the minds of children in a positive, encouraging way while also letting them know there are consequences for their choices.

“The children will listen to you if they know that you care about them,” Jones said.

Tuesday’s training was meant to help prepare the mentors with the tools and information needed to best serve the students as well as time to confer with other mentors.

“We want to make sure all of our mentors are equipped to work with our student population. We also make sure everybody has a background check, and we go over activities we can do with the children,” Gee said. “We also talk about, since we’re working with an at risk population, we go over being sensitive to their culture and their background.”

There are two training sessions a year for mentors, but those who volunteer late can participate in individual training with Gee.

“Last year we were able to add three or four during the school year,” Gee said.

For more information, contact the CAP Center at 601-634-0557.