Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

YouthFriends earns praise

August 14, 2003

YouthFriends USD 458 has been cited as a shining example of mentoring leadership.

The Basehor-Linwood YouthFriends initiative was recently honored as one of the top 15 initiatives among 91 school districts. This honor will provide Basehor-Linwood the opportunity to serve as "mentors" for the launching of YouthFriends nationwide.

The YouthFriends program places student and adult volunteers into elementary, middle and high school classrooms, where they tutor and mentor students.

"You lead by example and we are very pleased to recognize Basehor-Linwood as a model program for the state of Kansas," said Lori Johnson, YouthFriends Kansas statewide director. "Your success rate, innovative approach and excellent mentoring standards all exceed our expectations. What a difference YouthFriends makes, not just to the school community, but to the entire community."

Basehor-Linwood's volunteers have been talking about YouthFriends going nationwide since the USD 458 program began in 2000, and now it's happening. In cooperation with the National Mentoring Partnership, "MENTOR," YouthFriends hopes to have "MentorMAP" in schools around the country, beginning fall 2004.

The name "YouthFriends" will be exclusive to the three "startup" states of Kansas, Missouri and Michigan.

"Over 200 Basehor-Linwood YouthFriends volunteers can be proud knowing they've helped build our program into a program of excellence, one that will serve as an example to others across the country," said Tammy Potts, YouthFriends USD 458 district coordinator. She will serve on the advisory council helping to ease growing pains as schools across the nation come on board with MentorMAP.

"Our volunteers served over 5,000 hours last school year. They deserve a big pat on the back," Potts said. "It's important to continue doing what we do best, and that is connecting our community with our schools one volunteer and student at a time."

For more information on how to become a YouthFriend and volunteer with students in Basehor-Linwood schools, call 724-2348. Please check the school district calendar for training times. Applications are available at the front office of each school.

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