In early 2012, thanks to the efforts of employees from Welch Packaging in Countryside and an enthusiastic response by school teachers and administrators, a new mentoring partnership began at Ideal School. Initially, Brent Ogle, the general manager of Welch's Countryside’s operations, approached the school about starting a mentoring program. Mr. Ogle had just transferred from the Welch facility in Elkhart where he was actively involved in the company’s school mentoring program.
In its third year, the Ideal mentoring program now includes twelve mentors and students. Mentors spend an hour a week with their students, with a focus on the students’ needs and interests. The program strives to create a bond between the student and the mentor, so that the student will be comfortable talking to the mentor about any problems or concerns he/she has. The mentoring program also helps build students’ social skills and self-esteem. The program surveys show that mentors and their students enjoy their time together and have gained trusting and open relationships. The program has also helped students improve their attendance, grades and connection with the school.
This partnership is an outgrowth of Welch Packaging’s culture of making a difference in the community and the world. This blends well with Ideal staff’s commitment to work closely with community resources to support the social, emotional and academic growth of their students. Ideal School earns a top national ranking for the reading and math progress its students make each year on standardized tests. The school also received the highest Illinois rating for school trust and safety based on its students’ responses on the 2013 statewide survey.
We believe that this is just the beginning of our mentoring program. With the success of the Ideal and Welch Packaging partnership, we envision having more individuals and companies from our District 105 community become mentoring partners and the program growing and expanding to serve many students throughout our district. If you are interested in learning more about the mentoring program, please contact Glenn Schlichting by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Schlichting is the superintendent of District 105