Bay County public schools need more mentors

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:20 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Sometimes kids just need a little guidance from someone older and wiser. And even the smallest things can make the biggest difference.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as a mentor coming and just asking a student, how did you do on your math test today,” Sharon Michalik, Director of Communications for Bay District Schools, said.

Right now, roughly 300 Bay District Schools students are on a waiting list to be assigned a mentor. It’s a number the Bay County Chamber of Commerce is working to bring all the way down.

“Our priority is there should be no child on a waitlist waiting on a mentor,” Carol Roberts, President and CEO of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, said.

Tuesday, chamber leaders sent letters out to fellow members, asking them to step up and sign up for one of the district’s mentorship programs.

This is the first of a three-part initiative the chamber is working on, called “A Better Way For A Better Bay.”

“There are so many children that do not have adults, parents, in their lives,” Roberts said. “So it’s important that someone, that individual go spend an hour a week, half-hour a week just with that individual can make a huge difference.”

All it takes is 30 minutes, twice a month.

“These are half-hour mentoring sessions that take place at the student’s school during lunch,” Kelly Langenberg, Incoming Executive Director of the Bay Education Foundation, said. “We also have a virtual app, so if mentors can’t make it on campus they are still able to complete a mentoring session.”

While it is a school program, students aren’t always looking for just academic advice.

“Sometimes they need someone to just talk to about things that are bothering them. Sometimes they need someone to help role model problem-solving strategies, those kinds of things,” Michalik said. “Students need as much access as they can to positive role models at all levels.”

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, you can visit https://www.bay.k12.fl.us/elevate-bay.

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