Mentors respond to Partners need

The community has responded in a big way to Mesa County Partners’ January plea for adult mentors.

“In the 27 years that I have been with Partners, we have never matched this many,” said Director Joe Higgins.

The most in any prior three-month period was 30 in the mid- 1980s, he said.

Partners’ waiting list at the beginning of the year had 90 teenagers seeking a mentor. That list has been whittled to 50.

“Our goal is to match 60 kids (each year), so it is amazing that in the first three months of the year we have 40 matches,” said Tammie Rupe, manager for Partners’ mentoring program.

“It’s just been phenomenal,” Higgins said. “We have been struggling for three years to get that waiting list down. It’s great.”

Demand for Partners’ services has been growing. Many of the youth at Partners are referred through the justice system, although most of the youth waiting for a mentor are referred to Partners from the school district, Rupe said.

“Our waiting list kept climbing,” Rupe said. “Some of the kids would wait a year or two to get a partner.”

This year, Partners got aggressive. A media blitz included billboards; television, print and radio adds; yard signs; and updates on Partners’ Web site.

“We have really tried every avenue we can,” Rupe said.

With such early success, staff is hopeful of continued success for 2009.

“I believe we will get our list down to small numbers, hopefully in the 30s by year’s end,” Rupe said.


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