By: Ashlyn Sizemore, Journalism Staff
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” These words were spoken by Ronald Reagan after winning the 1980 election. His wise words have proven to be true, not only to the country as a whole, but in small communities, such as Eureka. Eureka High School has been readily involved in a mentoring program for several years, and it has had a positive effect on the students. The program has served as a way to not only reach out and help those who struggle socially or educationally, but also to those who have mentored.
“Getting to see their smiles when you see them, it just brightens your whole day,” senior Caitlyn Perlingiero said. “I mentor first hour, so it’s a great way to start off the day.”
The high school students mentor several of the students from kindergarten-8th grade at Davenport and EMS, and it is a good opportunity to build relationships and for the high schoolers to come alongside their mentees and be models.
The program was started by David Blyth, counselor and social worker at Goodfield, Congerville, and Davenport. Mr. Blyth started it originally with the intent for high schoolers to help the kids at Davenport and over time, EMS wanted to get involved.
“The program is so incredibly successful,” said Mrs. Block, counselor at EMS. “Since starting the program, we’ve noticed a tremendous difference in the students’ behavior, attendance, and hygiene, as well as many other positive changes. The kids really look up to them, and I can’t think of any other intervention that meets the kids’ needs as much as this program. The quality of the mentors and their compassion is wonderful. Teachers are one thing, but the fact that the kids genuinely feel cared for, one on one, is HUGE.”
Dani Blankenship, senior, is another high schooler who has been impacted by her mentee, a fourth grade boy at Davenport. “I like mentoring because it gives kids an opportunity to get help on things that they are struggling with and gives them an opportunity to talk to their mentor about their homelife,” she said. “It’s also a good way to show responsibility on the mentor’s part.”
The mentors at EHS are learning quite a bit themselves through their time with their mentees. It is a positive way to learn acts of selflessness and compassion and the students have mastered techniques of service and kindness so far this year.