MERIDEN — The Boys & Girls Club is seeking to recruit more mentors due to a shortage of adult volunteers.
”We have a list of kids who are looking for mentors,” club executive director Larry McGoldrick said.
McGoldrick said there are currently more mentees than mentors. The program requires mentors to meet with their mentee at least once a week, and mentors must commit to one year with the program.
“We are always trying to fill the need, and what it requires is that we are constantly attracting caring mentors,” he said.
An informational session for potential mentors will take place on tonight at the club, 15 Lincoln St., from 5:30 until 7 p.m. A panel of mentors and mentees will be available to answer questions.
McGoldrick said in some cases it is essential for mentors to be a constant in the child’s life because they might not find guidance elsewhere.
“Unfortunately many kids don’t have consistent parental guidance and supervision that helps develop them into productive citizens,” he said.
Mentor coordinator Emily Mulligan said mentees range from ages nine through 18 and will often rely on their mentor as a confidant. She said in addition to being caring, mentors should be willing to help with school, social situations and community involvement.
“I look for an individual that is open to new experiences, a caring individual, someone who is willing to make a commitment,” Mulligan said.
Meriden resident Debbie Clark has been a mentor for four years and said she is committed to help build the program.
"I've gotten way more out of it than I thought. These kids are very appreciative of you spending time with them and it’s interesting (getting) their perspective,” she said. "It's a very rewarding experience."
Mulligan said mentors go through an application process that involves a letter of recommendation.
“People don’t realize an hour a week is not a lot of time because commitment scares people, but I’m hoping to change that,” she said.