Mentoring programs across the country are celebrating January 2019 as National Mentoring Month, a campaign designed to expand quality mentoring programs and connect more young people with caring adults.

Locally, the Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is celebrating its 16th year serving the youth of Calaveras. Established in January 2003 as a program of the Calaveras County Office of Education (CCOE), the Mentoring Program made its first match on Dec. 18, 2003, and its 160th match on Nov. 14, 2018.

The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is a “Best Practices” program that connects local youth with safe, positive mentors who offer friendship, opportunity, and support for making healthy life decisions. Volunteer mentors spend a few hours every week with their mentee, doing fun activities and building a friendship. Ongoing Mentoring Program evaluation indicates that local students with mentors improve their self-esteem, their ability to build trusting relationships with adults, and their outlook on their own futures.

This year, the Mentoring Program is expanding to include youth ages 16 to 21 in a Young Adult Mentoring group designed to support young adults in their transition to adulthood. In monthly group gatherings, young adults practice life skills and get support for their individual challenges. Young Adult Mentoring has supported young people in successfully applying for a job, learning to cook, passing a DMV test, applying for college, and getting a Social Security card and ID.

“We are extremely proud of our youth and our youth mentoring programs,” said CCOE Superintendent Scott Nanik. “Building connections and getting youth excited about their future strengthens our whole community. We encourage more citizens to join this important work!”

The Calaveras County Office of Education also administers the FNL Mentoring Program. FNL Mentoring matches seventh- and eighth-grade protégés from Toyon, Mark Twain and Avery Middle schools with 10th- through 12th-grade mentors from Calaveras and Bret Harte high schools. This program is now in its 11th year in Calaveras County and has served more than 500 students.

The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is seeking volunteer mentors in all parts of Calaveras County.

For more information, call (209) 736-6078 or go online to www.calaverasmentoring.org.

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