By: Liz Rogers | Category: Other | Issue: December 2010
Lt. Adam Hull, a deputy for the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department, and his mentee, Darrick.
Could you spare one hour a month to make a difference in the life of a child? If the answer is “yes,” read on. Volunteers for Youth needs 50 mentors, both men and women, for its new e-PAL Program. The new program is formatted to provide volunteers the option to be a mentor without the time commitment of the PAL program, the organization’s traditional school-based mentoring program.
“Everyone with the desire to volunteer does not have the opportunity to spend one hour a week mentoring,” says PAL Project Director Cindy Vanaman. The e-Pal Program mentors are asked to spend a little time emailing a high school student once a week and visiting with them face to face once a month for about an hour.
The basic role of the mentor is the same for both programs. Mentors strive to be the student’s friend, role model, motivator and personal advocate. The mentor’s purpose is to build self-esteem, confidence and self-worth in the student. The new e-PAL Program will focus also on more targeted goals, primarily dropout prevention.
For individuals willing to make a greater time commitment, the traditional PAL Program always welcomes volunteers. Although nearly 100 students are served annually by the program, several students remain on a waiting list.
Mentors vary in age, gender and professions. They come from all walks of life and offer a wide range of life experience. “We have a diverse group of volunteers,” Vanaman says, “from young mothers to college students to working professionals to retirees. We invite any adult who has made a success of their own life to volunteer.”
Despite their diversity, mentors generally share common traits – they care, they are good listeners, and they want to help young people bring out their strengths.
“Most mentors say the rewards they gain are as substantial as those for their mentees,” says Vanaman. Such is the case for traditional PAL Program mentor Lt. Adam Hull, a deputy for the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department. “I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life,” says Hull. “It has proven to be a most gratifying experience. It makes me feel good to see my mentee excited to see me. I hope it is as rewarding for him as it is for me.”
Dawn Arbo, whose son Darrick is Hull’s mentee, says Hull’s contribution to her son’s life is immeasurable. Darrick was matched with Hull shortly after the unexpected loss of Darrick’s father in a motorcycle accident. Understandably, it was a difficult time in Darrick’s life.
“Adam came into our life just in time,” says Arbo. “He has made such an impact on Darrick’s life in ways I cannot begin to explain. My son talks about being a police officer and working with drug dogs just like Adam does. He talks about wanting to help other kids when he grows up just like Adam has done. Because of Adam, today my son is happy and confident.”
If you would like to volunteer or have any questions regarding the new e-PAL Program or the traditional PAL Program, call or email Cindy Vanaman at (918) 343-2530 or eat1@eau1eav1eaw1.