ELLIJAY, GA – Saturday, September 16, will see the Christian Learning Center (CLC) holding their Fall Mentorship Training from 1:00 – 5:00 P.M.
This twice-a-year free training session walks people through mentoring students and walking with them in their lives. Training teaches adults how to better affect and lead those students to their future or through rough times.
It is also a part of the process for volunteers to commit to mentoring for students in Gilmer High School. The program, which was started years ago by previous Director Caleb Land, now sees citizens volunteer one hour a week for a year to support and encourage students today.
Director Jennifer Colson tells FYN the whole purpose of training and preparing adults to spend the time mentoring out youth is for “Adults to pour into our students.” With repeated and consistent reports from previous students, Colson never spoke about whether she considers the program “successful.” Rather, she speaks of individual moments where she has seen the changes in students, emails of previous students conveying the impact on them, or just a simple thank you for the time and effort. She also speaks of more students waiting to join the program, waiting for more volunteers to fill the needed positions.
Whether it is a student dealing with issues or just someone needing encouragement to achieve greater in classes, Colson praises the program as an extension of the CLC classes. “We just want to love these kids and help them along,” says Colson. Since the kids can only go through three separate semester classes, there comes a point when class time is no longer an option.
Some call the CLC the “highlight of their day” when they attend classes. Extending that feel into a full mentorship allows a full year of continuation of that environment. In fact, the CLC offers its facility to those who do mentor as a place to meet and play.
Along with the training session on Saturday, volunteers will interview with administrators to better pair with kids and their needs. They also take time to meet with students parents. Some volunteers voice concerns about some issues that may arise and how to handle certain situations, but Colson assures those involved that the training covers all of that including a requirement of involving others with extreme circumstances, relieving concerns and pressure on volunteers.
Mentorship is not a requirement, but rather is requested by students in school who want to join. Whether they are CLC students or not, go to church or not, the program is available. When volunteers join it expands the reach of one of campus building to a district-wide influence through the strength of citizens taking time to strengthen younger generations.
Ministry Assistant at the CLC, Caitlin Neal told FYN she had received mentoring when she was younger, though not from Gilmer’s CLC. “It was very beneficial to me,” said Neal, “My mentor was a member of my church, but she was also a teacher in the school system. It was great to see her in multiple aspects of her life, but also pouring into me. I think it would be great for our students.”
Connections grow throughout a student’s life and these connections affect everything from small decisions daily to the ultimate course of one’s future. The possibility to be such an influence on someone’s life is just as impactful on the Mentor’s life as it is the student. The CLC alone sees close to 120 students a day. As growth continues in the community, growth must continue in support for those who need it, and especially for students who actively ask for it.
Citizens wishing to join the training to further explore the option of mentoring (going through the training does not make the year commitment) can inquire further through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 706-635-7100. Colson tells FYN that schedules can be flexible to times available to both the student and mentor.
While the CLC requested citizens inform them by Friday, September 15, if they wish to attend. However, Colson also stated that those who wake up Saturday with a last minute opening or last minute decision to attend are also encouraged to join the training as well.