Letter to the Editor

Youth mentoring program needs community's help

Saturday, December 1, 2001

To the editor:

The Missouri Mentoring Partnership works with at-risk youths under the age of 22 to develop the skills needed to become self-sufficient adults. In our Worksite Program, youths complete job-readiness training and are placed in employment with one of our 158 corporate partners who provide workplace mentors. In our Parenting Program, youths are paired with volunteer mentors to assist them in developing life-management skills. Participation in both programs is voluntary but carries a commitment to continue education to at least the high school graduation or GED level. The programs are highly successful. We win about 75 percent of the time. Often, our kids enter the program at 16, and we grow them into career positions as they finish their education and develop skills.

We lack $7,500 in funding needed to support the Parenting Program for this fiscal year. This population is acknowledged to be one of the most difficult of all at-risk youth populations. The costs of monthly support-group meetings with hot meals -- the incentive program through which young parents earn points to buy items for their infants or purchase maternity clothing acceptable for work -- add up quickly. I wish everyone could share the joy of seeing these kids bloom. We stretch every dollar so we can serve more kids. Anyone wishing to be part of this effort at creating a better world, one young adult at a time, is welcome to contribute time, talent or a monetary gift.

MARGE SULLIVAN

Director

Missouri Mentoring Partnership

Cape Girardeau