Mentors cheered at annual luncheon

Published 11:27 am Friday, January 27, 2012


News Intern

January is National Mentoring Month, and on Thursday, Jan. 26, mentors from the local One on One mentoring program were honored during a luncheon in the Charles H. Kirbo Center at Bainbridge College. The luncheon was sponsored by GRAd (Glennal Research and Development) and BASF Catalysts organizations and was organized by Alesia Brinson, the One on One mentoring program founder and program coordinator.

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Mentors from the community and the local high school were present at the luncheon. The main speaker was Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent of Decatur County Schools.

“The success of you being a mentor or us having a mentor program is measured by how many lives that we’re able to improve or have a positive impact on,” Rayfield said. “What you’re doing is adding value to a human being to make them feel better about themselves and to help them be more successful in the future.”

Rayfield continued about how important it is for mentors to talk to their mentored children in person, and not through something impersonal like a text message.

“Take the time to listen face to face; that’s huge,” Rayfield said. “The reason that’s huge is they don’t have anybody, in a lot of instances, that are sitting down everyday and looking at them eye to eye saying ‘I care about you and how did your day go.’ They don’t have that — if you do that for 30 minutes that can be extremely gratifying to them.”

Dr. M. Van Thomas, principal of Bainbridge Middle School, spoke about the mentoring program and how he has seen it  positively affect many children over the years.

“You’re doing a noble thing here, it’s a noble profession to be a mentor. You see Alesia [Brinson] may have called you, but God sent you. He sent you in the lives of these kids to make a difference.”

Roy Matthews also spoke about how many kids have been helped from the mentoring program when he worked at the Performance Learning Center, and since he’s been principal at Hutto Middle School.

“One of the high-school mentors was at the office sitting down with one of the young kids from Hutto, having lunch, and talking with that kid and I was in my office working,” Matthews said. “I stopped for a minute and I just listened to the conversation that they were having — the dialogue back and forth. I thought, ‘That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about how well we can score on a test, it’s about the relationships we can build with these kids.’”

Teresa Hall, one of the mentors in One on One mentoring program said how she couldn’t say enough nice things about the program.

“I’ve been able to make some good friendships with the students, so that part’s been wonderful,” Hall said. “The kids seem to be very receptive of it and they’re just great kids.”