Making a difference with Mountain Mentors
SUMMIT COUNTY “Rewarding” and “fun” are some of the ways that Ted Swan described volunteering with Mountain Mentors.He is paired with a 14-year-old boy through the program which matches youth ages 6 to 16 with adult volunteers who can be a positive influence and act as a mentor. “It’s been great,” Swan said. “I hope I’ve had some kind of positive impact. … We just have a great time together.”He is one of about 45 volunteers in the group, and Mountain Mentors is currently looking for more. About 12 children are on a waiting list for the program, said Jake Quigley, coordinator for the program.Mountain Mentors began in 1987. They get referrals from Summit County School District and from social services of children who may really benefit from the program. Then, the coordinators at Mountain Mentors work to find the best adult/youth match, Quigley said.They organize about three activities a month as a program, and volunteers are expected to spend between three and five hours a week with their mentee.Swan and the teen he’s paired with ski, play basketball, watch movies and hang out. The two have similar interests and have had a chance to learn from each other, he said.”Some of these kids really just need somebody who’s a role model, someone to look up to,” said Swan. “Middle school, elementary school can be such a hard time for kids these days.”Swan signed up in March and was matched up with a teen in July. It can be intimidating at first, he said. But, “once the ice is broken, it’s incredibly rewarding.”Coffee TalkInterested volunteers are invited to attend Mountain Mentors Coffee Talk from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Abbey’s Coffee, 720 Main St., in Frisco. Staff will be available to answer questions.Anyone interested can also visit the county website, http://www.co.summit.us and click on the Mountain Mentors link, or call coordinators, Kelly Kissling, (970) 668-4154, Amy Tobin, (970) 668-4245 or Jake Quigley, (970) 668-4153.An application to volunteer is on the organization’s website or can be picked up at on the second floor of the County Commons building in the Youth and Family Services Department.
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