January is National Mentoring Month, and The Immokalee Foundation needs more adults to take part in rewarding relationships with its students.
Caring adults who can encourage and guide these young people in middle and high school are vital to the students’ success.
The process is simple: A foundation mentor is matched with a student in seventh or higher grades and commits to meeting with that young person at least once a week for an hour. The student may have questions about homework, a career, friends or another topic. The mentor shares their knowledge and experience – and perhaps proficiency in math or another school subject once in a while.
Some of the students come from homes in which little or no English is spoken, so having an adult English speaker to talk with is also very valuable. Being a mentor turns out to be a very enriching experience for the adult, as well.
Kathy Pryor of Naples is completing her first year as a mentor and enthusiastically recommends it to others.
Pryor meets her mentee, 15-year-old Perla Moran, weekly for lunch at Immokalee High School. Many mentors meet their mentees after school hours at The Immokalee Foundation offices, but Moran is so involved in volunteering and other after-school activities that lunchtime suits this pair best.
Pryor has watched and encouraged Moran become an involved, academically successful young adult this year. “She’s delightful, and she doesn’t slow down much,” Pryor said. “I enjoy seeing her every week.”
Mentoring is a cornerstone of The Immokalee Foundation’s programs and is appreciated by the students and their parents as one of the factors in their academic and personal success.
“My mentor has encouraged me to further my education and to continue striving to accomplish my goals. Most importantly, she is one of my greatest friends,” said Leessett Perez, who spent her senior year at Immokalee High School and was also enrolled in college courses.
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit https://immokaleefoundation.org.