“I was a victim of self-induced procrastination. Mentoring was something I wanted to do but felt that I was just too busy.”
Sound familiar? This is the confession of local attorney Dick Tisinger, now an active mentor for a 17-year old student at KidsPeace in Bowdon.
Tisinger served on the Carroll County Chamber/Carroll Tomorrow Workforce Education Task Force where the concept of a coordinated mentoring effort was incubated. “I knew there were others like me — interested, but not knowing how to get connected. I knew of several different programs but where did I go to sign up?”
And so, Mentoring Village was born. This umbrella organization provides volunteer management (recruiting, screening, and training) to partnering mentoring organizations throughout Carroll County. Cathy Robinson serves as program coordinator.
“I contacted Cathy and then it got easy,” Tisinger said. “I went through training and had an extensive background check. Their questionnaire serves as an interest matching instrument — it assists Cathy in matching my interests with mentees from the stand alone mentoring programs.”
Prior to pairing the mentor with a partnering organization, a general three hour training session is conducted. A second training session is then required by the specific mentoring group once the mentor’s interests are matched.
“I was matched (via Mentoring Village) with the Carroll County Mentoring Program because they had a student at KidsPeace who would benefit from a mentoring relationship,” Tisinger said. “I have been involved with KidsPeace at both the local and national level, so it was a perfect match.”
Tisinger brings his community relationships to the table to assist his student mentee. With his encouragement, she is close to earning her high school diploma and has an interest in biology. Tisinger arranged for a West Georgia Technical College representative to visit with her to share career pathways relating to biology.
Working with children or the elderly is a second interest of the student and Tisinger asked the director of Carroll Manor to give her “the good, bad and ugly of working in a nursing home environment.”
“I regret that I did not start mentoring earlier,” Tisinger admits. “For those of you sitting on the sideline, thinking about it — go do it! It is a win-win-win for the student, mentor and society.”
Tisinger noted that the training helped him know how to keep a balance in maintaining the right caring relationship. He visits his mentee every week for about 30 minutes and intends to keep up with her after she returns to her home county following foster care.
“But then I plan on getting a new student to mentor,” he said. “You might strike out with a particular student — nobody bats 1,000 — but again, that’s where Cathy comes in. She can re-evaluate and pair you with a different student.”
“For the leadership of our county’s businesses who want their team to give back to the community in a hands-on way, I encourage them to invite Cathy to come speak to their staff,” Tisinger said. “Now that the Mentoring Village infrastructure is in place, there is a smooth transition from wanting to be a mentor to being one.”
Why Become a Mentor
- Mentored young people see a 59% improvement in their grades.
(Source: Career Beginnings)
- 86% of mentored young people went on to higher education.
(Source: Proctor & Gamble)
- 80% of youth involved in the juvenile detention system who
received a mentor did not return to that system.
(Source: Prison Fellowship)
- 52% of mentored students are less likely to skip a day of school and 37%
less likely to skip a single class. (Source: Big Brothers Big Sisters Public/Private Ventures study)
Mentoring Village Partners
- 12 For Life
- Carroll County Mentoring Program
- Carrollton City and Carroll County Communities in Schools
- Carrollton Housing Authority Youth Services Program
- Legacy Council Mentoring Program
- Carrollton Junior High School