OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee School District Director of Mental Health and Behavioral Supports Katherine Williams spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee about a new program designed to have adults in the community mentor children within the school system.
The program is called B.U.D.D.Y and stands for Building Uniquely Diverse and Dynamic Youth. Williams laid out the parameters to the club and qualifications required for volunteers.
Williams explained that studies show that students that meet regularly with mentors are less likely to start drinking, use drugs, skip school or have declining mental health. They are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities and attend college.
Mentors will meet with their assigned mentees only on the school campus during school hours once a week for at least 30 minutes. Mentors are asked to commit to at least one year and encouraged to make contact with the mentee’s parents.
Individuals interested in becoming a mentor complete a quick application though the BUDDY Mentoring Program, then a volunteer application process through the Okeechobee County School Board District website that includes a reference check, fingerprinting, criminal background check, and a face to face interview. Applicants will complete a questionnaire designed to find points of compatibility with mentees, and a comprehensive 12 hour training, broken down into four 3-hour blocks.
If anyone is interested in signing up you can go online to https://bit.ly/BUDDYMentoring.
The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee is a youth service organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in our community. The club meets every Thursday at noon in the back room at Lakeside Grill. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the club is invited to attend. Like the Club on Facebook and message the club with further questions.