Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Child mentoring programs launched

Source: Delaware State News

By Al Kemp

October 9, 2010

Federal, state and local officials gathered on pint­sized chairs in the little library at North Dover Elementary School on Friday to announce the launch of two new mentoring programs aimed at rescuing children from what Rich Kapolka of Connecting Generations termed “desperate circumstances.”  One initiative, the Capital Men­tors Program, is a community­wide collaboration involving the Greater Dover Committee, the Capital School District, Connect­ing Generations and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware.

Ed Dulin, representing the Greater Dover Committee, hailed the partnership among the three nonprofits behind the Capital Mentors Program, which has a goal of building and sustaining a district-wide mentoring program in Capital School District and beyond.

There were 50 mentors committed to the program as of Thursday night, he said, with a target of 300 mentors for Dover-area schools.

Local businesses including Kraft Foods and Dover Downs are encouraging employees to mentor. Students from Wesley College, Delaware State University, Delaware Technical & Community College, Wilmington University and Dover High School are also lending their support.

“The willingness of these folks to work together has been gratifying,” Mr. Dulin said.

Joe Duffy, of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware, also praised the collaborative effort.

“ The partnership … offers the best opportunity I have seen in 27 years to provide the highest quality mentoring service to more students than would otherwise be possible working alone,” he said.

The other mentoring initiative announced Friday is the Connecting Generations AmeriCorps Youth Ambassador Program, which was funded by a $126,000 federal grant.

The Youth Ambassadors, who come from all over the country, will coordinate mentoring activities in 10 elementary schools and middle schools in Dover and Wilmington.

The Youth Ambassadors are tasked with reaching 10 percent of their school’s enrollment, but Iazia McTeer, AmeriCorps program director, said there is no way to estimate the number of lives they will touch.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., who has been a mentor for 15 years and spearheaded mentoring initiatives in his time as governor, said he was introduced to mentoring by his former scheduling secretary, the late Anne Marie Fahey.

“ This is just as much her legacy as anybody in the state,” he said.

Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., joked that he was “about to be unemployed and considering going into mentoring full time,” and saluted Sen. Carper for developing “more mentors per capita” than anyone he’s known.

Sen. Edward E. “ Ted” KAUFMAN, D-Del., also hailed Sen. Carper, saying that “speaking before Tom Carper on mentoring is like speaking before Albert Einstein on quantum mechanics.”

Sen. KAUFMAN cited the many benefi ts that come from mentoring, and said, “If we could make (mentoring) into a pill, it’d be a wonder drug.”

Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, who mentors two young children, also addressed the crowd.

“Mentoring is incredibly important to the kids that receive it, and it’s tremendously rewarding for the person doing the mentoring,” he said.

The AmeriCorps Youth Ambassadors will receive a stipend of $12,600, student loan forbearance, health care and child care and an education award of more than $5,000, which can be matched at more than 100 colleges and universities.

Print this Page E-mail this Page