Titus Ranch makes its mentoring program a reality | Local News

MOULTRIE, Ga. — After 28 years of patience and dedication, Titus Ranch and its founder, Susan Whiddon, launched the organization’s mentorship program.

Before Titus Ranch was named, charity was in Whiddon’s heart while she was a teacher. Inspired by the Book of Titus in the Holy Bible, Whiddon named the organization after the nightly devotions she would have when reading the scriptures – which taught about discipleship and reaching out to others. In a July 29 interview, Whiddon went on to explain the eventual launch of Titus Ranch in 2014.

“During this period I was teaching and always had a heart for the underdog – a struggling child – [who] may have had a bad situation at home or for some reason. I’ll always have one or two [students] every year my heart would sink and I would bring them home with me,” Whiddon explained.

At that time, her husband was a basketball coach and she had her three sons. So she let the students come to birthday parties or just visit the farm.

“I just started to think, there must be something we can do for these kids,” Whiddon continued, “…the Lord, he started to birth this ministry in me…it’s is like he gave me three goals basically,” Whiddon said. .

These three objectives consisted of a children’s camp, a children’s home and a mentoring program. However, it would take some time before such plans materialize. Whiddon was a full-time teacher, wife and mother of three boys. She couldn’t take the time necessary to materialize the need she saw. Although she took steps such as applying for a 501c3 – which is required to accept donations or contributions – it was not until after her retirement that she was able to dedicate time to the goals she had settled down.

Around 2014, Whiddon heard about Winshape Camp (now called Connect Camp). The summer camp took place over a week, Monday to Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. One Goal Down: This year marked the eighth summer camp hosted by Titus Ranch.

The next objective was the mentoring program. So, as Whiddon explained, she had been researching for some time when she discovered the Christian Association of Youth Mentoring. Soon after, Whiddon and two other associates attended a three-day training course offered by CAYM to begin their own mentorship program.

After reaching out to various community leaders such as law enforcement, social workers, and school superintendent Ben Wiggins, Titus Ranch launched their mentorship program in April after spring break. With advice from Wiggins, they started small with three mentors and three mentees. In addition to mentors, it now consists of examiners, coaches, a prayer team and trainers who all play an important role in the mentoring process,

PPotential mentors are required to go through a process that includes completing an application, an interview, an orientation, and a background check. They undergo a detailed four-hour training so that they know how to effectively fulfill their role as mentors. After completing the necessary steps, mentors are matched with a mentee through an interview process conducted by Titus Ranch examiners.

“If we feel good [mentor’s] interview, and then we also interview the child and the child’s guardian or parent,” Whiddon continued. “We watch those interviews and we watch the mentor interview and then we compare based on likes, dislikes and personalities.”

In addition to ensuring that mentors and mentees are well matched, there are coaches in place who coordinate with parents or guardians to also check adults against not only the mentee, but against their own well-being. Parents and guardians can also have a mentor for themselves. In addition, coaches check with parents or guardians so that they know if the parents or guardians are satisfied with the mentor assigned to them.

In the beginning, mentors met their mentees during the school day. However, after working with parents or guardians of mentees, mentors can now meet mentees outside of school, especially during summer vacation. With mentoring available outside of school, mentors can help mentees get involved in the community and do other activities like going to the movies and attending Connect Camp during the summer with scholarships offered by Titus Ranch. Ultimately, the Titus Ranch Mentorship Program aims to continue mentorship throughout each mentee’s high school journey.

Now, Titus Ranch is looking to build on the program and recruit more mentors and mentees with the new school year.

If you are interested in joining, you can call (229) 891-1280 or visit their website at www.titusranch.org. You can also contact them by email at [email protected].

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