Reaching Beyond the Student

The mentor program has room to improve, according to officials from Central United Methodist Church and Carver Middle School, and the room is due to what kids today need.

Tiffany Plott, principal at Carver Middle School, tells us, "I read something the other day that said in this day and time that kids crave positive encouragement and attention more so than they do food."

The need for attention may be what leads many kids to gang activity. One way Carver Middle School is fulfilling that need for students in a positive way is with mentors from Central United Methodist Church.

Plott explains, "We try and let these kids know that between 7:30 and 4 o'clock everyday you're part of our family, and we care about what goes on with you here, but we also care about goes on when you leave here, and what this does is it gives them that person that's going to care and is going to check up on them and is going to wonder what's going on not just while they're at school but outside of school as well."

The next step for the program to expand is to involve the students' parents and families, and if that happens, it may have an even greater impact on academics and especially on crime.

"I would like to see that somehow we can piggyback this or expand this to reach out to the parents, to have some kind of way to get the parents involved somehow or establish maybe relationships with them as well, you know, not just their child but maybe getting to know the parents and having a name and a face," says Julia Green, program coordinator for the mentors at Carver.

The mentors would provide one more check on accountability to students before they make a choice they will later regret.

"A lot of time what we see is, you know, parents are working late. They're not there for the kids when they get home. Maybe a grandparent is trying to take care of them, but what this does is it gives them one more contact person that, hey, I'm accountable to this person. This person is depending on me to do the right thing," says Plott.

Organizers also hope this program will spread to other schools within the district.