Mon, Feb 19, 2018 07:36 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-08-27 communities
Mentoring program in place at Inez
Cletus Turner

INEZ ELEMENTARY STUDENTS are currently involved in a "Great Leaps" program which helps reading speed and accuracy. The mentoring students from the peer tutor program at Sheldon Clark assist in the process and also are involved with games and other activities. (click for larger version)
INEZ - For the second year, a mentoring program is in place at Sheldon Clark High School.

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The program, which is part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, places high school seniors with students at Inez Elementary School to help students with social skills. This year, seniors will also help with academics.

"It was easier to start the program because we knew what to expect," Inez family resource director Jean Muncy said. "The kids were anxious for the program to start, and we are looking forward to another successful year."

According to peer tutor director Thelma Moore, 14 seniors are currently participating in the program.

"We have four football players who are working with the kids," Moore said. "We have just about as many boys this year as we do girls. It's a good mix."

The mentoring program is working in concert with the Great Leaps program currently used by Inez Elementary School.

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"The Great Leaps program is a supplement to the normal reading programs," Inez Elementary principal Larry James said. "Students start with letters and sounds in kindergarten right up to stories in the latter grades. The students have one minute to read the page. They read the page until they are able to complete it in one minute. The kids love it because they are timing themselves. It has really improved our reading scores."

Moore said about 15 to 20 minutes of the time the big brother or big sister is with his or her child is given to academic work. The rest of the time the mentor is a buddy to them. They can play games or just talk the choice is up to them.

There were also Big Brother/Big Sister programs in Floyd County, but those programs have not been started this year due to lack of funds.

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Big Brother/Big Sister regional director Margaret Rice said kids at Inez Elementary School already knew what to expect, so that part of the process was easy.

"Jean and Thelma each know their kids, so we could match up the students according to their likes, dislikes, and hobbies," Rice said. "I really believe in this program. With everybody, including the principal, teachers and the resource people pulling together, we will see good results. We have last year and we will this year."

Volunteers, the center of Big Brother/Big Sister, are essential, and Rice said volunteers and donations are always welcome.

"We will also accept any donations to the mentoring program," Rice said.

Sheldon Clark students can volunteer through the peer tutor program by talking to Moore at the guidance counselor's office.

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