Leon County Schools To Recruit 500 New Mentors

Tallahassee, FL—Leon County Schools announced the beginning of the “Sit down For Kids” campaign aimed at recruiting 500 new mentors to assist students of all grades and ages. Alongside representatives from some of the organizations participating in the campaign Superintendent Jackie Pons invited volunteers from throughout Tallahassee to Mentor.

“Sometimes the best way to stand up for a child is to sit down. We are asking for community volunteers to commit to sitting down with a student once a week to help that child achieve his full potential,” said Superintendent of Schools Jackie Pons. “Our community has been our strongest resource and has consistently supported our students—I am confident that together we will find 500 individuals to sign up to be a mentor.”

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LCS Mentors spend up to one hour with one child every week. To become an LCS mentor, volunteers attend a training session, submit fingerprints for LCS background clearance (free of charge) and are then matched with a student. Interested volunteers should visit www.SitDownforKids.com to complete the interest form.

“We are fortunate to have, not only our own high school students who often help our younger kids, but also a wealth of talent from FSU, FAMU and TCC. The adult and business partners are also an invaluable resource. Mentoring in our schools is a positive exchange for all who are involved. I’m confident our community will continue to respond in this appeal to expand our mentoring program and we are very grateful,” said School Board Member DeeDee Rasmussen.

“Mentors make a huge difference in the life of the child they mentor, and the child also greatly impacts the life of the mentor forever.” Steve Uhlfelder, chair of the Florida Mentoring Partnership Board and a mentor for 25 years.
To reach the goal of 500 mentors, LCS has partnered with many in our community, including: Volunteer Florida, the Florida Department of Education and other Florida Governmental Agencies, FSU, TCC, FAMU, churches, and local businesses.

“Mentoring students one-on-one has a tremendous impact in helping children reach their full potentials and we’re excited to partner with Leon County schools in this campaign,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. “We are 100% committed to providing knowledgeable, caring adults to play significant roles in the life of children and I know other state agencies share in that mission as well.”

“First Baptist Church is privileged to partner with Sabal Palm Elementary and Leon County Schools to provide mentors and volunteers in this strategic area. As mentors, people of good faith and good will can work together for the common good of our community,” said Dr. Bill Shiell, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Tallahassee.

“The Florida Mentoring Partnership is currently focused on engaging more state employees as mentors in Leon County with the Florida Mentors! campaign, and we look forward to helping to meet the 500 Mentors goal as a part of these efforts,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman.

The LCS mentor program offers individuals the opportunity to serve in many ways according to their own interests and abilities. Some of these partner programs include: The United Way Reading Pals, Big Brothers & Big Sisters Mentor 2.0, and the TCC led Take Stock in Children.

“For over 15 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has had on-campus mentoring for LCS youth. We are excited to be a part of this campaign to recruit 500 new mentors and in the fall of 2013 we will be launching Mentor2.0 at Godby High School (www.mentor2.org),” said Louis Garcia, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend.

“The 100 is excited to be a part of this initiative, we look forward to doing our part to assist and prepare our youth for the future,” said Ronald Joe, President, 100 Black Men of Tallahassee Area Chapter.

For more information, please call Betsy McCauley or Rocky Hanna at 850-487-7800, visit www.SitDownforKids.com or email Mentor@LeonSchools.com.