TNT Mentoring is hiring a mentor coordinator for Woodmore.

ELMORE — Several years ago, Port Clinton School District Superintendent Pat Adkins became a mentor to a sixth-grader through TNT Mentoring — a program of the Ottawa County Family Advocacy Center supported by United Way in Ottawa County and Sandusky. Ottawa County and County Youth Court.

Although Adkin’s mentee graduated from high school two years ago, they continue to stay in touch.

“To this day, I get texts when things are bad, and we talk about it. And I get texts when things are good,” Adkins said. “I consider him a friend. It’s been good for us of them.

TNT Mentoring pairs K-12 students with adult mentors who can provide a little guidance, encouragement, and friendship to a child. Mentors are encouraged to spend at least half an hour per week with their mentee, and they are encouraged to spend more time as the relationship develops.

Have lunch at school or spend time fishing

Many mentors begin by having lunch with the children at school, but they are invited to meet the young people after school, either at school or in a public place, if the parents give permission.

“We match them based on their areas of interest. If a child loves basketball, fishing or art, we’ll match them with a mentor who loves that too,” said Dawn Schling, the new TNT Mentor Coordinator for local Woodmore Schools. “We’re looking for people who want to make a difference in a child’s life, be someone they can look up to and share things with.”

Schling filled a huge void at Woodmore when she accepted the position of Mentor Coordinator. The countywide program was temporarily shut down by the pandemic, and Woodmore was particularly hard hit because the former coordinator retired. The Ottawa County Family Support Center struggled to find someone to lead the program, but Schling completed training and began recruiting mentors in March.

Connie Roe, right, said she was grateful to Dawn Schling for agreeing to lead the TNT Mentorship Program for Woodmore Schools, which was shut down by the pandemic.

She has a big job ahead of her. Prior to COVID-19, Woodmore had about 35 mentoring matches. Today, 16 students have been nominated for the program, but there are only five mentors. These numbers become devastating in light of the post-pandemic needs of children.

The pandemic has been devastating for children

“We lost a lot of mentor contacts at Woodmore. The pandemic has been devastating to the program and to our children,” said Connie Roe, Ottawa County Family Advocacy Director. “COVID has really traumatized everyone. If ever there was a need for mentors, it’s now.

Mentoring time is not for tutoring, but for friendship and fun and to help them learn how to maneuver better in life.

“My wife is also a mentor,” Adkins said, “and she’s helped her mentee with everything from getting jobs to writing resumes. So it’s about building relationships with them. and become someone they can trust.

“I had the opportunity to mentor three different students. Each time, I got as much out of them, if not more, than them.”

Although the program is open to all students, it targets students in grades five to seven as these middle years are particularly difficult.

“That’s when kids can use someone neutral in their corner. They need someone who is going to be their friend and cheer them on,” Roe said.

Mentors are needed in every school in the county, but the need is urgent in Woodmore. Roe is grateful that Schling is reviving Woodmore’s program. She is a long-time bus driver in Woodmore and works with the summer lunch program.

“We’re thrilled to have Dawn at Woodmore,” Roe said. “She knows the community and she knows the kids. It’s a great game. »

For more information on becoming a mentor at Woodmore, call Dawn Schling at 419-552-1506 or text her at [email protected]

“We need mentors,” Roe said. “You can be one more caring adult for a child.”

Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]

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