Give 30 program seeking mentors for Madison County Schools

Taylor Donohoo speaks at the Give 30 meeting on Jan. 10 in Lovejoy Library. 

The Madison County Regional Office of Education recently partnered with SIUE to gain mentors for at-risk students as part of the Give 30 program. A meeting was held on Jan. 10 in Lovejoy Library for those interested in volunteering. 

Give 30 is a volunteer program that was founded three years ago by Robert Daiber, an alumnus of SIUE who is now the Regional Superintendent of Schools for Madison County. The meeting explained Give 30 asks mentors to spend 30 minutes per week with an assigned at-risk student within one of many selected Madison County high schools and middle schools. Because the mentors meet with the students during the school day, they must have week-day availability. 

“It was more so an informational meeting,” Program Specialist within the Madison County Regional Office of Education Taylor Donohoo said. “I presented short clips about the things that mentors do in the schools and information as far as how to be a mentor.” 

Information included the three-step process required to become a mentor: completing an online application, passing a background check and then attending a training session. 

Donohoo said this is the first year that the program has stressed reaching out to SIUE in order to gain a more diverse age range in mentors. 

“The majority of [mentors before this year] are older than college-age students … so it’s definitely an older population,” Donohoo said. “We are reaching out to SIUE as well because it could be something for students to [continue] even after they graduate [if] they are in this area.”

In order for more SIUE students to be eligible to mentor, the Madison County Regional Office of Education reduced the age requirement from 21 to 19. 

The program benefits both SIUE students and at-risk students in the program.

“Mentoring is a type of leading, and so the opportunity to provide guidance to a teenager who’s in real difficulty gives the SIUE student the opportunity to practice some leadership skills while making a real difference in a teenager’s life,” Interim Dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior Paul Rose said. 

The program bridges connections between SIUE and the larger community, something Rose said is valuable for the university. 

“At the same time, SIUE’s reputation is partially built on our ability to provide high-impact practices that impact students’ learning while also benefiting the community,” Rose said. 

According to Rose, the meeting had approximately 40 members of the SIUE community in attendance and after the meeting 17 SIUE students signed up to be mentors. One mentor-to-be who sees value in Give 30’s mission is Mica Coleman, a graduate teaching assistant with SIUE’s Early Childhood Center from Springfield, Illinois. 

“I actually had a really tough childhood, growing up with domestic violence and drug addiction in my family, and so one of my big mottos for me growing up is ‘be the person who the little girl growing up needed,’ so I always try to be a very positive role model,” Coleman said. 

Those interested in mentoring are encouraged to visit http://www.give30.net. For further information, contact Donohoo at tddonohoo@co.madison.il.us or 618-296-4448. 

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