Mentoring program is beginning

July 23, 2003 12:00 am

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Marian Coahran always dreamed that when she retired, she'd join a mentoring program and help youngsters.

While working as a public-health nurse in Amador County, she'd heard great things about that area's mentoring program.

"Parents told me how their children's mentors made all the difference," she said. "I was impressed."

Coahran, who lives in San Andreas and now works part time for the Calaveras County Health Department, is about to make her dream come true. She has filled out an application to become a mentor with the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program.

"I'm on the advisory committee and got my application in," she said. "Mentoring is just a friendship. To be a friend is an incredibly powerful tool to help a kid who may be struggling with life issues. It's so simple."

Frank Orlando is another Calaveras County adult who wants to be a mentor.

Orlando, director of county services for the Calaveras County Superintendent's Office of Education, said he wants to mentor a youngster interested in sports or other outdoor activities.

"I have a background in education. I've been a coach. If I get a youngster who's having a little difficulty in school, I can tutor him," Orlando said.

Orlando and Coahran are the kind of caring adults that Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program Director Kathryn Eustis is looking for.

Eustis, of Murphys, has been organizing the first youth mentoring program for the county since January.

The grant-funded program is administered through the county Office of Education.

She said the goal of this new program is to provide adult friends to young people who need such friends in their lives.

Eustis hopes to have at least 10 adult mentors and kids matched up by Sept. 1.

"We're getting interest from a number of retired teachers, people from their 30s to their 60s," she said.

Eustis said the new program will resemble the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program that has been so successful over the years.