Seniors needed for new mentoring program at Simon Youth Academy - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Seniors needed for new mentoring program at Simon Youth Academy

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Calling all retirees wanting to make a difference in the Lake area - a new mentoring program is being developed at the Simon Youth Academy, where you can help students reach their full potential. 

For the more than 100 high school students attending Simon Youth Academy, support is what's needed most.

"Parenting, pregnancy, anxiety, some other mental health condition, or they just can't handle the rigors of a school campus," Betty Washington, Director of Special Services for Calcasieu Schools explains the many reasons student begin attending SYA.

Those students often need guidance outside the classroom, and many of them reach out to teachers after hours for help. 

"Children had questions beyond the realm of academics," said Washington. "They had to reach out to someone, and our teachers, they are the ones they reached out to."

To lessen that strain on teachers and better help students, Simon Youth Academy has teamed up with ReServe to create a unique program. They are looking for successful adults, 55 and over, to serve as mentors. 

"That group of adults, they have already lived," said Washington. "They've already experienced some of the problems that our children face. So they can guide them and direct them and give them that advice that they need so they don't make the mistakes that others have made."

Not only will this provide students with the one-on-one support they need, but it allows retirees to continue giving back to the community while earning a modest stipend of about $11 an hour.

"10-20 hours per week, providing that guidance and support to those students," said the director.

It's a program that directors believe will benefit both the mentors and the students involved.

"There are a lot of adults who have retired and they don't have anything constructive to do. They need this program, and our children need them," said Washington.

To register as a mentor, call Joann D'Aleo with ReServe at (646) 931-2331.

To learn more about Simon Youth Academy or ReServe, visit their websites. 

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