Theron Selover, of Cortland, recently visited the American Red Cross of Cortland County office with his mentor, Doug Bentley, to learn more about helping professions. Theron, 10, is a fifth-grade student at Parker Elementary School in Cortland.
Doug is a mentor in a Cortland County program for youth called Cortland Community Mentors. The program is sponsored by three local organizations: YWCA of Cortland’s Bridges for Kids, Youth Assist Program of Family Counseling Services, and the Peer Mentoring Program through Access to Independence. Cortland Community Mentors pairs school-age children with adults and college students. And what exactly is a mentor?
“A guide, a trusted friend, a positive role model, and a good listener,” said Sara Earl, Program Director of Bridges for Kids.
Individuals who have a mentor are less likely to participate in high-risk behaviors, and more likely to attend school regularly and graduate from high school.
“Increasing awareness about the mentoring program is part of my goal,” Doug said. “I want to introduce Theron to public service agencies and non-profit organizations so that he will consider helping others as an important part of growing up.”
If you would like to learn more about mentoring and Cortland Community Mentors, contact Sara Earl at the YWCA of Cortland at (607) 753-9651. Before his visit Theron didn’t know much about the American Red Cross. After touring the office, Theron discovered that September is Disaster Preparedness Month; he received a checklist to share with his family and his teacher that explains how to build a Disaster Preparedness Kit; and he learned what the Red Cross has to offer Cortland County residents, such as the Learn to Swim Program in the summer, the monthly blood drives that collect life-saving blood for area hospitals, and First Aid, CPR, Babysitter’s Training and other classes that residents can take locally in the conference room at the Red Cross office.
The best part of Theron’s visit? “Wearing the Red Cross hat,” said Theron, who learned that the hat is often used by volunteers who respond to disaster and emergency calls.
To remember all that he has learned about his community, Theron and Doug are taking pictures of each visit for a scrapbook and writing about them in a journal. The photo accompanying this story was taken near the sign in the front of the Red Cross building at 50 Clinton Avenue.
For more information about the work of the American Red Cross of Cortland County, call (607) 753-1182 or visit us on Facebook.