Church-School Partnership Helping Children

Mentors at Carver Middle School do more than just help with school work. They also take the time to find out how their protégés are doing each day.

Tiffany Plott, principal at Carver, says, "They come in and they just help our kids, talk to them, how's your day going, what's going on in your life, is there anything I can help you with? They look at their grades. They talk to them about how to keep their grades up."

Academics is only a small part of this program. It differs from Study Buddies at other Meridian Public Schools in that the focus is on building lasting relationships with the students.

Thad Quarles, a volunteer with the program at Carver, explains, "What they're doing is what we call making a measurable impact in the community, something you can actually gauge and you can wrap your arms around numbers, but it's not just about numbers here, it's about relationships that you're establishing here in the community and you're showing children that you really care."

The program at Carver Middle School is about more than statistical improvements. It's about having the student be accountable to someone else so that, hopefully, when they're out there making a difficult decision, they make the right one.

"The relationship piece of it is probably the most important piece that they can do is holding these kids accountable to somebody," explains Plott. "You know, when they get in a position that they have to make a choice between what's right and what's wrong that they'll be that one little thing in the back of their mind, whether it come from something at school or whether it come from one of these mentors that are coming in from Central that are talking to them everyday about the decisions in their life, that it will pop into their head at that moment and they'll be able to make the right choice."

Julia Green, the program coordinator at Carver, says, "We all need more people to love us and encourage us, pray for us. You can never have too many people in your life that are caring for you."