It happens every day. Companies and individuals get excited about the idea of YouthFriends mentoring, but then hestitate to get involved—fearing they might overextend themselves by committing to weekly visits.
But now, an increasing number of volunteers are easing those concerns by participating in "mentoring teams," an approach that makes it easier to fulfill the weekly commitment--and to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of students throughout Greater Kansas City.
One company implementing the team-mentoring approach is Lee Mathews Equipment.
Since 1954, Lee Mathews has handled engineered pumping applications for contractors, industry and municipalities. When it became a YouthFriends partner in 2007, its employees decided to volunteer at Scuola Vita Nuova, a charter school in Kansas City, Mo.
Like many companies, Lee Mathews employees wanted to get involved in mentoring but were not sure if they could consistently attend weekly mentoring sessions.
Using the team mentoring approach, about 15 Lee Mathews team associates take turns rotating each week, ensuring that at least three team members are available to mentor students at Scuola every Thursday.
"Everyone from Lee Mathews has enjoyed going and enjoyed the team mentoring process," Lee Mathews President Tim Howard said.
The mentors visit three classes in three grade levels (sixth through eighth grade) each week, with different mentors helping about 60 students with homework, reading or class projects.
"I think there is never a question if it has been good for the students," Howard said. "We have been able to help students see a bigger world."
School Principal Nicole King said, "The Lee Mathews volunteers have been instrumental in helping teachers connect curriculum to real-world experience. The Lee Mathews team allows Scuola Vita Nuova to stretch learning beyond the boundaries of classroom walls."
The Lee Mathews mentoring effort is just one example of how companies and school districts are balancing the busy schedules of professionals while also meeting the needs of the students.
Other area companies involved in team mentoring include HNTB and Harley Davidson.
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