From WILL - The Public Square -

Kellie Anderson on the CU One-to-One mentoring program

I'm Kellie Anderson, Community Involvement Coordinator for volunteers and the CU One-to-One mentoring program at Thomas Paine and Wiley Schools in Urbana. CU One-to-One is a collaborative program of the Champaign and Urbana school districts.

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, sugar and spice and everything nice - the old adage tells us that's what little boys and girls are made of. But, there's so much more! They are made of experiences, both positive and negative. They are made of the influences in their sphere of living - the music, the TV, the ads, the images, school lessons, books, conversations. Mostly, though, boys and girls are made of what they are given by us: the grown-ups. What we give them genetically and biologically is huge, of course. Their genetic code for black hair or blue eyes or a funny-shaped thumb, the eventual need for glasses or a body built for speed or agility - or not. These can be the things that connect the generations in a family.

But what else makes a child? What connects a child to the world and to a community? It's the things of the heart and soul. This is the legacy that can come from endless sources -- and this is where we call out to those grown-ups who possess the spirit to become a mentor.

A mentor is a steadfast friend, an encourager, a compass in the pocket in the life of a child. A mentor is not a teacher, although she might teach mighty things. A mentor is not a social worker, although he might identify a resource for assistance. A mentor does not cure or solve or eliminate a child's problem, although he might be a balm on a wounded young heart and a cheerleader, giving the child a confidence in their own ability to overcome.

Become one of many who are helping along the way, one strong adult influence, one voice in a chorus in that young person's song. Do you have a desire to leave a legacy not just in your own family, but in the community of Champaign-Urbana? Will you help make a lifetime of difference in just one hour a week? That's all it takes - just one hour each week to influence a boy's life or a girl's life forever. Become part of what boys and girls are made of.

To become a mentor in a Champaign or Urbana school, contact CU One-to-One at 337-0853 or 351-3722 or visit our web-site at cu1to1.org. Training is scheduled for January 29 at 6:30pm.