Middle Park middle-schoolers are ‘Helping Hurting Hearts’
January 27, 2009
Eighth-grader Marcus Curran uploaded a photo of a woman and child playing outside together with the words Helping Hurting Hearts displayed above it.
Below the illustration he listed ways a mentoring program would benefit the children of Grand County. The 13-year-old plans to distribute the artwork around the Fraser Valley.
“I’m going to make posters and I’m going to hang them up around town,” he said. “And I’m going to board meetings I guess.”
This year’s project
East Grand Middle School eighth graders are focusing this year’s service learning project on bringing back a mentoring program. On Tuesday, they worked on posters, cartoons and letters to the editor in the school library.
Abby Loberg’s third hour class wants to promote a program to help children and teens who don’t have a positive role model in their lives. The independent mentoring program would match adult volunteers with at-risk youth. The hope is that this will increase high school graduation rates and decrease teen pregnancy. Studies have shown that the kids with mentors are more likely to graduate and be successful, the students’ PowerPoint presentation said.
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“It would help other kids,” said Curran, of Granby. “Like a lot of other programs are trying to get this going again this year, so I think we can get it going … I’d like them to do activities at the Y (YMCA), or something, and just hang out and talk.”
Grand County had a mentoring program several years ago, and when Loberg made a few calls she found out local organizations, Grand Futures and Social Services, are also working on this same project. If they work with those two agencies, they will have a better chance of creating a mentoring program, she said.
“We’re in the planning stages, PR stages,” Loberg said. “They did a lot of really good research.”
Kylie Marchiori, 14, of Tabernash and Cindy Valencia, 13, of Granby, worked together on a letter to editor to send the Sky-Hi Daily News. The letter tells a story about the difference a mentoring program could make in the struggling boy’s life.
“There are little troubled kids out there,” Marchiori said. “When they grow up they could really hurt (society) by doing drugs and maybe getting in trouble with the law.”
The development of a mentoring program would be a “great step because if we can get a mentor who the kids could relate to, they could turn out like their mentor and not a criminal,” Marchiori said.
“A lot of people here need help,” added Macey Benner, 14, of Winter Park.
“Sometimes they don’t think they need it, but they do ” they just don’t want anyone to know.”
An annual effort
Each year Loberg has her students select a service learning project. She asks them what they can do to make Grand County a better place.
The first project was to create a rec center in Granby, and last year they wanted to create a year-round bus system, which helped expand the transportation system, she said.
This year, the mentoring program was the brainchild of Loberg’s third hour class.
So far they have spent about a month on the project, while keeping up with their curriculum requirements. The agencies will probably come to the classroom to talk with the students about the importance of mentoring programs. The students will also prepare a slide show to present at town board meetings about their proposal.
Loberg said this isn’t as big of a project as ones in the past, and they could make it happen in a shorter timeframe.
“I would like to see it brought back,” she said. “Maybe within the course of the school year it could happen.”
East Grand Middle School’s entire eighth grade class will back the two agencies.
“They have a 100-person PR team at their disposal when they want it,” Loberg added.
” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.