Mountain mentor of the month: May 2017 | SummitDaily.com

Mountain mentor of the month: May 2017

Summit County Mountain Mentors wishes to recognize resident Sarah McKenzie, right, as the program's mentor of the month for May 2017 following her ongoing work with mentee Milca.

Summit County Mountain Mentors, the community-based mentorship program matching caring volunteers with youths aged 8 to 16, would like to honor its Mentor of the Month for May, Sarah McKenzie.

The mission of the program, now in its 30th year, is to positively influence the county's youth to lead healthy lifestyles through a consistent, one-on-one relationship with an adult. Research shows this connection can help young people overcome life challenges as well as learn skills that may prove valuable in the mentee's development.

McKenzie heard about the Mountain Mentors program for a while on the radio and in the newspaper when she finally decided to sign up. That's when she was introduced to Milca.

"I feel like I waited too long," she said. "I have learned to be kid again, just to not worry about everyday things and let loose and have fun, and enjoy what we're doing. I would absolutely encourage other community members to be part of Mountain Mentors."

Since being paired more than two and a half years ago, the two have gone on a number of outings together, from a trip down to Denver to visit Elitch Gardens to a countywide, program-led scavenger hunt and also the occasional visit to Starbucks, which is one of Milca's favorite places.

Many children in the county apply and wait several months before being matched, just looking for someone who will matter in their lives. If helping kids is a priority for you or you want to give back to your community, McKenzie encourages anyone considering becoming a mentor to sign up. For more information about the program, or to learn more about becoming a Mountain Mentor, visit: http://www.co.summit.co.us/332/Mountain-Mentors