A grant from the Ohio Department of Education will be put to use helping youth in Gallia and Meigs counties learn skills that will, hopefully, prepare them for the workforce.
A $100,000 Community Connectors grant was awarded to Field of Hope for 2016-17. The mentoring grant will help with such things as transportation, food and a mentor training program.
According to Shelly Sizemore, activities director who will oversee the grant, the intent is to, “pro-actively deal with young people in grades five through seven who could do more if given a boost to realize their potential.”
Sizemore said there are 40 “developmental assets” that have been identified as being crucial four adolescents targeted in this age group to succeed. Those 40 assets outlined by Search Institute in Minneapolis, Minn., include External; family, empowerment, boundaries and expectations and constructive use of time and Internal; a commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and establishing a positive identity.
The group works with schools in the two counties to identify students to participate in the program. It will then identify a mentor to connect with a student to help them develop skills (assets) to become citizens. Linda Michael is the Meigs County coordinator and Katherine Glass is the Gallia County coordinator. Reggie Robinson works with Glass in Gallia County through Health Recovery Services as well as local school guidance counselors.
Sizemore explained, “It’s a little like Big Brothers Big Sisters, but with a business aspect. We want to plug kids into the community so that they can grow into a good, quality workforce. And part of that might be visiting area businesses so kids can see the opportunity and set a goal.” There is also a component to the program that allows mentors to take a pro-active approach to educating students on substance abuse.
According to the coordinator, the plan would be to begin with a large group and then break down into one-on-one mentor and mentee relationships.