MENTORS FOR WILLIAMS COUNTY … A.J. Nowaczyk presented information about the newly formed and growing group whose goal is to pick up the slack for the children in Williams County. The Williams County mayors hosted Nowaczyk at the March 24, 2021 meeting at Drop Tine in Montpelier. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!!! This was the word for the evening, not only from the presenter of the Mentors for Williams County program, but also from Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade.
A Vaccine Clinic scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 27 at the Superior Athletic Center needed Volunteers. Commissioner Terry Rummel sent an announcement that anyone 16 Years Old and up would be able to get the Pfizer vaccination on that date as there would be 1300 vaccines available.
Present for the Mayors March 2021 meeting at Drop Tine in Montpelier were Mayors Don Leu of West Unity, Carrie Schlade of Bryan, Dean Thiel of Edon, Linda Muehlfeld of Blakeslee, and Joe Beck of Stryker as well as Commissioner Lew Hilkert and Holiday City Council member Shawn Clark sitting in for his wife, Mayor Pam Clark.
Following the regular business of the meeting, Mayor Beck, who was leading the meeting as host Mayor Steve Yagelski was unable to attend, introduced the speaker for the meeting.
AJ Nowaczyk from Mentors for Williams County gave a power point presentation, explaining what the group does and what they need from the community to get this project really moving. MWC started in November 2020 in the Bryan City School District with Abbie Singer and Chantel Dominique as the Pilot Mentors.
They received great feedback from the mentors and the school. During this time, they created the Mentor Handbook. Board Members include A.J. Nowaczyk, Ashley Epling, Adam Pietrzyk, Jacob Wiley, Kaitlin Grine and Abbie Singer.
The Mission Statement of MWC is “Providing Williams County youth with positive mentors who will demonstrate and encourage healthy choices and lifestyles to prepare them for their future.” The Vision Statement is “to create a community where every child is given the support to lead a successful life.”
Nowaczyk shared how surprised he was at the number of children in just the Bryan Schools, who need someone who will be a positive influence for them. He shared that he underestimated how many responses there would be and when the school sent him sixty names, he realized how great the need is.
Presently MWC has only thirteen mentors trained and ready to work with a child. They need hundreds of volunteers if they are to spread across the county and be a major influence in the schools for the children in need.
The target group is broken into three smaller groups: Torchbearers which is a structured program for youths aged 12-16 to create and achieve goals; The Climb which engages youth involved in the Juvenile Court System; and Lunch Buddies which works with youth aged 6-11. A mentor must be at least 21 years old, except for lunch buddies which can be juniors and seniors in High School.
A background check is conducted and each perspective mentor goes through a training, with mandatory reporting being part of that training. They must have reliable transportation and be able to commit to at one year with a mentee, sharing at least two hours per month in a minimum of two sessions.
The group is focusing mostly on children who are 6-12 but exceptions can be made on a case by case scenario with board approval. The only way for a child to get a mentor from this group is by referral from their school or the Juvenile Courts, and a parent must sign a consent and information release form. Currently the group has thirteen mentors and all of them will be going through a training by mid April. They have matches already waiting for them.
In order to be come a mentor with the Mentors for Williams County, one needs to fill out an inquiry at www.mentorswc.org,, go through an in person interview, complete the training program, get matched with a youth and begin mentoring.
It should take a little less than a month to get started. Nowaczyk said that both the child and the mentor fill out a questionnaire that allows the board to match them with someone with like interests and that would be able to relate to each other.
Mayor Schlade shared with those in attendance that she is already approved and waiting to be matched with a student. She said the process was well worth it so that she will be able to mentor a child in their community.
Mentors can make specific requests as well, such as not being given a student that is in the same class with any of the mentor’s children. Older people are welcome as well! Many children need a grandparent figure in their life.
For the hundreds of readers who want to step up and be a kind and loving person for a child who needs that, who like to go out for ice-cream or spend some time at a park, who would love to have a child burst into laughter with you, or so many other things that might happen, you may contact Mentors of Williams County at www.mentorswc.org; by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 419-546-1226; or mail at P.O. Box 7063, Bryan, Ohio, 43506.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com