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COACH Kids is looking for mentors

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PLAY: COACH Kids mentor Noah Spear, left, and Cayden play Connect 4 together.
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FRIENDSHIP: COACH Kids mentor Tatum Nash, right, and Zakary have fun together while posing for a photo at the annual luncheon earlier this year. COACH Kids is in need of more mentors like Tatum.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

COACH Kids, a local nonprofit that provides youth with faith-based mentoring, is in need of more mentors.

COACH Kids Executive Director Susan Grasham says that the fall is a great time to become a mentor in either the Local Heroes school-based program or the Community Hope community-based program.

“The start of school is an easy place to kick off because we are getting kids referred and getting them matched up,” Grasham said. “This is a good time for people to get signed up, especially for school-based mentoring. But, our community-based mentoring – we have about 10 kids who have been waiting a really long time.”

Grasham says that they need mentors for both boys and girls who are willing to commit four to six hours of their time each month.

“You can work it into your schedule any time in the month,” Grasham said. “It could be all at once. It could be every Monday for an hour, every Thursday to go play basketball or walk at the park. It doesn't have to be big.

“And we have all kinds of activities,” she added. “We are getting ready for a s'mores event. We will have a campfire and play yard games, take pictures and get to know each other.”

The S'mores Fun for Mentors & Mentees event begins at 4 p.m. Oct. 5 at Community Christian Church at 1944 S. Jackson St. in Frankfort.

“It can fit into your life,” Grasham said. “It does not have to be this extraneous, big thing. You are not taking them out and spending money. In fact, we frown upon that. It can work together with what you are trying to do in other areas of your life.

“So, we are looking for mentors, especially with local heroes,” she added. “We have a couple schools that need some adult males to go into mentoring.”

Grasham says that COACH Kids recently received a $9,000 grant from Duke Energy to fund the high school COACH Kids Club mentors.

“You don't have to be a child psychologist or a councilor to be able to do it. You are a friend,” Grasham said. “You are not a parent. You are not a therapist. You are just a friend who spends a little bit of time with them. I think we underestimate the value of a relationship. All you have to do is value other people. You can see a kid and see that they have potential. You are kind to them. You get to know them, and that can change a life.”

To help familiarize potential mentors on its program, COACH Kids will host a Mentoring 101 clinic at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in its office at 554 W. Walnut St. in Frankfort. Attendees may RSVP to 654-8812.

“If you come and stay for the whole time, it is a 90-minute session,” Grasham said. “It is training to prepare you for mentoring as well as giving you information about COACH Kids and how to get started. You can come for 30 minutes and find out about the different programs that we have and different ways in which you can connect. It is basic information and resources. We are here to make those connections.”

Future Mentoring 101 clinics are already scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 26 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

At 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1, COACH Kids will have a Mentor Gathering & Training on the second floor of the Frankfort Community Public Library.

“All of our mentors are invited to come,” Grasham said. “We are going to talk about building your mentor relationship. It is a great opportunity to come together and learn how relationships change and how to get through phases. This training is about building up that relationship.

“Mentoring is vital to community health,” she added. “It is building a bridge between the kids that need that extra encouragement and the folks that have the encouragement to give.”