Mentoring program strives to elevate its students

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - January marks National Mentoring Month. In Bay District Schools, a mentoring program strives to elevate its students.

Yanie Hill, a student at Lucille Moore Elementary, and her mentor, Wendi Nation, bond through academics and laughter. Lots of laughter.

Wendi describes Yanie as spirited and goal-driven. Yanie has a lot of passions, including mathematics, reading, and singing. She also has a stock of knock-knock jokes.

Wendi typically meets Yanie for lunch in the cafeteria on Wednesdays.

"We flex it around her schedule and my schedule, but for the most part, we try to stick on Wednesdays, that way she knows that I'll be here and we can hang out," Wendi said.

Yanie will tell you her favorite day of the week reminds her of a certain someone.

"It's very cool that she comes on Wednesday, because the 'W' and 'D' both go with 'Wednesday,' so I like how she comes on Wednesdays, because I kind of pronounce her name, that's why I always think of her when I hear the word 'Wednesday,'" Yanie said.

The student-mentor duo said they have noticed an improvement in Yanie's classroom performance.

"I'm very proud of her with her school work, because she was having a little trouble in the beginning, which is why she was assigned a mentor and she just needed a little extra encouragement," Wendi said.

Wendi's encouragement goes beyond academics.

"I like how she always makes me laugh and I always like how she's always there for me when I'm down," Yanie said.

Stacey Legg, the Mentor Initiative Specialist for Elevate Bay, said there are currently 429 mentors.

She said she hopes to have Elevate Bay's next orientation for new mentors the first week of February.

Anyone interested can contact her at leggsl@bay.k12.fl.us for an application or can call her office at 850-767-4128.