For Randy Weener, mentoring has less to do with helping children with their homework and more to do with helping them see what’s possible.
“A good mentor will help students dream bigger dreams,” said Weener, the religious leader behind the One Wyoming’s 1 on 1 program that seeks to provide 1,100 Wyoming students with a tutor this year. “When you dream bigger dreams, your academics might improve, but students also realize there is more they can achieve – more than they might have considered.”
As schools get started this fall, Wyoming leaders from the community, as well as business and religious organizations, are ramping up their efforts to sign up mentors for the program.
A major launch and training event is planned for Tuesday Sept. 24, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Godwin Heights High School Auditorium. All adults interested in becoming a mentor are welcome to attend.
Weener said the mentoring program benefits mentors as much as mentees. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. A lot of adults will be changed in positive ways. They live a bit in a socio-economic bubble. There are children that live with all kinds of needs. They can and do live with what many adults could never handle. It’s a window of understanding that goes in both directions.”
Students to Help Students
Among those who will be mentoring is the whole Grace Bible College freshmen class. Agreeing was Grace Bible President Ken Kemper. The Christian institution, located in Wyoming, will be sending its entire freshman class of 95 students to mentor elementary-aged students.
“Each student who comes here does so to follow their calling, whether it’s in education or ministry. They can be extremely effective as youth leaders and school children gravitate towards college students because they are adults but still young…they’re still cool. And it will be a great experience for our college students. We want them to transition from being self-centered and taken care of, to becoming the people who are helping others. As a Christian institution we want our students to see what’s normal for an authentic Christian. This is exactly what God would have us do: helping other people.”
This summer, Wyoming churches were busy opening new churches and spreading the word about the tutoring program. So were volunteers in the business and schools communities, said Jack Postine, the coordinator for Wyoming 1 on 1. So far, about a third of the mentors needed have signed up.
Postine said he’s still amazed at the monumental task the group set for itself, and the positive results it could have. “It’s been a bigger project than anyone would have imagined,” he said.