“Be the One” mentoring program run by Partners for Schools, a 501c3 non-profit organization, and currently in place in the Lynden School District, will be the topic of a community meeting Monday evening. A group of Ferndale citizens has begun the process of bringing this mentoring program into Ferndale High School but for that to happen, according to Partners for Schools officials, the community needs to show support as well.
Over 150 students at Lynden High and Middle Schools have participated in the program so far according to Partners for Schools co-founder Nancy McHarness. McHarness and her husband Dennis started Partners for Schools in 2010.
According to the program website, “Every student needs a caring adult in their life to listen to them, believe in them, and to dream with them. We support healthy mentoring relationships for every interested student that enhances the development of strong virtues and work ethic, and the development of marketplace skills.”
Mentors are volunteers who commit to spending 1 hour a week with a student during school hours for at least one year. The goal, according to the program website, is “to bridge the gap in a student’s life and build hope for their future.” Mentors’ friendship, support and encouragement will help their students navigate toward their next educational and/or employment decisions.
The program is community driven and 100% funded by the community according to McHarness
Supporting the program takes two forms according to McHarness; financial and volunteer. Financial support is needed to support the program and donations by individuals and business sponsors can be made online. People interested in volunteering as a mentor can fill out the mentor interest form online and a mentor coordinator will send an application.
Mentor applications are followed by
- Washington State Patrol background check
- 2 reference checks
- Attending a 90 minute orientation
- An interview with a mentor coordinator
Ferndale School District, if the program launches here, would provide professional oversight of the program. Mentor coordinators will “screen, train and interview mentors and students along with supporting their developing relationships through frequent check-ins,” according to the program website. “Matches are made after careful consideration at the discretion of the mentor coordinators and School District administrators.”
The Ferndale community meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 16th from 6:30pm to 8pm at Church of Christ located at 6300 Portal Way. People interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to attend.
Below is a promotional video produced by Partners for Schools.