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School system seeks mentors
Volunteers visit students weekly
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Forsyth County News
For more information about the mentoring program, contact Susie Brookshire at (770) 887-2461 or

Forsyth County school officials recently honored the district's mentors as part of National Mentoring Month in January.

These volunteers spend at least 30 minutes a week with their student "mentees" in elementary and middle schools.

"Research has shown that programs that rely on volunteer mentors can play a powerful role in reducing drug use and youth violence while greatly enhancing a young person's prospects for graduation and a healthy, productive life," said

Susie Brookshire, the school system's prevention specialist and mentoring coordinator.

Brookshire also coordinates the school system's Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in 15 schools and Too Good for Drugs, a drug prevention curriculum in the middle schools.

But what exactly is a mentor?

"A mentor is a volunteer that works to provide a young person with a special, encouraging relationship that can be the foundation for success in that child's life," Brookshire said. "Put very simply, a mentor lends a child friendly support and a listening ear.

"How can this be accomplished? This can be done by just talking to the child, helping them with homework, reading a book, playing a game or coloring with a child."

Brookshire said the school system's mentoring program has been well supported since its inception in 1999.

Between August and December 2008, 343 adults gave a total of more than 1,800 hours of time to students.

"These dedicated adults try and set goals that focus on developing trusting relationships with their mentees," she said. "The mentors may not ever know how much of a difference they make in the lives of the student, but they surely do."

Brookshire said during January, many schools sent their mentors thank-you notes and had students create cards and postcards honoring mentors.

The need for mentors is continuous.

"We are always looking for mentors to work with our students," Brookshire said. "Every elementary and middle school has a waiting list of students who need mentors."

The only requirements are a background check, two-hour training session and commitment of at least 30 minutes per week.

The next training and information session is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 24 at the school board office, 1120 Dahlonega Highway.