Bay District Schools awarded $440,000 grant to help with mentor programs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay District Schools was awarded a $440,000 grant to help the Elevate Bay mentor program.

Officials with Elevate Bay say the grant will help expand the mentor program and tailor it to specific schools' needs. (WJHG/WECP)

The money will go toward hiring 30 volunteer liaisons who'll help recruit mentors at schools throughout the county.

Stacey Legg, the Elevate Bay Coordinator said, “We’ve seen test scores go up as mentors spend time each week with their students working on math facts or reading fluency, numbers or letters. It’s amazing. A lot of our students don’t have anyone at home that can spend that extra time with them so that’s super valuable.”

In addition to recruiting volunteer mentors and acting as mentors themselves, the liaisons can also reach out to the community for help.

Dawn Capes, the Director of Student Wellness Programs for BDS said, “This will enable a volunteer at the school to access businesses or organizations to donate but just time but goods or other types of services they could be of need to those students.”

Officials with Elevate Bay say the grant will help expand the mentor program and tailor it to specific schools' needs.

They also say training should begin over the summer.

“The goal is to have them up and running at the beginning of the school year because as soon as the children are there, the needs will be there,” said Legg.

For more information on how to become a volunteer mentoring, check out Elevate Bay's Facebook page here.

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