Lee County Mentoring Program Expanding

Keokuk, IA – Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Great River Area provides mentors to elementary school-age children.

Executive Director Lee Ann Shaffer-Smith says the organization has secured a $50,000 grant through the Iowa Department of Public Health. She says BB/BS will partner with Iowa State University Extension on a new service for middle school age students.

Shaffer-Smith says the partnership will provide one-on-one services or group mentoring opportunities. She says, in the past, middle school-age children were not interested in having a mentor.

"Times have changed," says Shaffer-Smith, "and kids are growing up really fast these days. So there definitely is a need for that one-on-one mentoring."

Shaffer-Smith says the program will target middle school-age students in Lee County. She says it will also be available for those in Clark and Hancock Counties.

Shaffer-Smith says the partnership means more big brothers and big sisters are needed. She says those interested can contact her office (319-526-3944).

Shaffer-Smith says mentors will provide information on their likes and hobbies. She says a background check will also be conducted.

Shaffer-Smith says several children who aged out of the program have already expressed an interest in again having a mentor. She says the organization worked with 113 kids in 2009 with a goal of 135 this year.