Ndoko: Joining forces to further youth mentoring

Community voice

Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 10:23 a.m. CDT
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Marsha Ndoko

The impact that one person can have on another, especially that of a caring adult on the life of a vulnerable youth, can last a lifetime.

As coordinator of the MetroMentors program at Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, my job is to match such mentors and mentees. Effective mentoring relationships can help increase children’s self-esteem, social competence, academic achievement and positive life choices. And mentors often find they gain much by giving their time, attention and support.

Though many stories have been told about the benefits of mentoring, another story that should be shared is about the organizational partnerships that are helping programs like MetroMentors survive and grow. In our case, joining forces with local school entities such as District 45 and organizations such as Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn has been a recipe for success.

MetroMentors provides weekly mentoring opportunities in schools by working with various DuPage school districts, including District 45. Through Kathy Gerber, the guidance counselor at Jefferson Middle School, we at MetroMentors discovered that Parkview was interested in deepening its mentoring outreach. Steve King, worship arts pastor at Parkview Community Church, says the following:

"As we considered the requirements of starting up a mentoring program with the District 45 schools, we knew there were areas of expertise we were not qualified to address, such as the administration, screening, oversight and coordination between the schools, students and mentors. MetroMentors has filled that role with Parkview and District 45. The result has been a partnership that maximizes our ability to focus on recruiting and engaging mentors with students at the schools."

He adds, "Our partnership with MetroMentors and District 45 has worked extraordinarily well. Since we were new to the mentoring process, they helped lead us step-by-step in recruiting, equipping and training mentors to deploy at the schools. Their staff members are competent, flexible, responsive and interested in providing the best mentoring solution to the students."

As a result of the partnership, on average, students with mentors saw a 70 percent increase in academic performance, an 82 percent improvement in social or emotional challenges, an 85 percent improvement in learning, as well as performance increases in a number of other areas.

MetroMentors greatly appreciates the support of Parkview Community Church, District 45, other participating school districts and other partners who are helping to support mentoring services and benefit the greater DuPage community.

MetroMentors always has a demand for mentors, especially adult males and volunteers who can donate time during the school day. For more information, please contact Marsha Ndoko at NdokoM@metrofamily.org or 630-784-4836.

Marsha Ndoko is the MetroMentors coordinator for Metropolitan Family Services DuPage

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