Grant Funds Mentoring Program
New School-Based Mentoring Program Helps Youth Be Successful
A new program that involves a partnership between Poudre School District and Partners Mentoring Youth of Larimer County will connect more youth with positive adult role models, helping them be more successful in school.
A $496,000 four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice is funding a new school-based mentoring program for youth in Rocky Mountain High School’s feeder system. The goal of the project is to make youth more resilient by connecting them with positive adults.
“Having a consistent caring adult has been shown to be one of the most significant factors in determining youth resiliency,” says Kelly Glick, RMHS mental health specialist, who thinks families are experiencing more stress now due to several factors. “This impacts our students. In order to withstand stress, we must build our students’ abilities to be resilient.”
This year the program serves RMHS youth, using graduate social work interns from CSU as mentors. The program will expand in the second year to include youth at Blevins Middle School and Olander Elementary School for Project-Based Learning. Years three and four include maintaining the program, as well as adding a community volunteer mentoring component.
To develop and implement the program, PSD paired up with Partners Mentoring Youth, which matches positive adult role models with youth ages 7-17.
“The program is off to a strong start,” says Heather Vesgaard, program director of Partners Mentoring Youth. “We anticipate serving about 20 youth at RMHS this year.”
Glick said the school-based mentoring program idea evolved during staff discussions on how to best serve specific RMHS students.
“We realized that kids often need role models or an adult to consistently be available as opposed to more intensive mental health services,” she said. “Many of the kids I work with just really need someone to connect with, and this seemed to be the perfect way to address this need.”
Vesgaard pointed out that research shows youth benefit from school-based mentoring in several ways, including school performance, attitudes, behavior and relationships.
“It’s also known that youth success in the school setting is indicative of successes later in life,” Vesgaard said, adding that the school-based program compliments Partners’ existing community program. “This program allows us to serve more youth who will benefit from mentoring in the school setting who may not have otherwise received mentoring services.”