East Lyme Youth Services is partnering with East Lyme Schools to relaunch the Viking Mentoring Program. We have experienced firsthand the impact that encouragement, listening and role modeling can have on a child’s life. And we have seen how mentoring programs give us a chance to contribute to the youth in our communities. As we move forward, we hope you will join us in taking the next steps to become a mentor through the Viking Mentoring Program.

What does a mentor do?
A mentor provides support to a young person who can benefit from another positive relationship, guidance, and life experience of the mentor. Mentoring allows the individuals involved opportunities to learn, share experiences, and build a supportive rapport over time. In the Viking Mentoring Program, our focus will be on the youth in our community whose lives can be enriched through the guidance of a mentor.

How does mentoring help?
In addition to making children more confident in their schoolwork and more trusting of their parents or guardians, mentoring can help reduce truancy and engagement in illegal substances and alcohol, as well as lessen the chance of aggressive behavior. Most successful people say they had mentors along the way who guided and encouraged them. The Harvard Mentoring Project interviewed prominent people from various fields about their mentors.

Who can participate?
This opportunity is for all East Lyme residents who are available to meet with a child during school hours.

How do I participate?
The first step is to fill out a mentor application. Applications are available from Sarah Firmin; Wellness, Prevention and Mentor Coordinator with East Lyme Youth Services or the application can be downloaded from the East Lyme Schools website. The application process includes a background check, followed by an interview and training session. Following training, each participant is matched with a student. East Lyme Youth Services will provide ongoing programs to support you in this important role and most importantly the hour per week to participate.

This can be a very rewarding relationship for both the mentor and mentee, but it requires commitment and consistency to be successful. We hope you will join us in making a difference.