Education is important. For some of us, there’s never been a concern about whether we will graduate high-school or not. For others, including approximately 10,000 kids currently in the Denton school district, that is a concern that is very real. Mentor Denton is trying to mitigate that concern by matching each of those 10,000 kids with mentors.
Launched in Fall of 2013, Mentor Denton is a collective impact coalition comprised of the City of Denton, Denton ISD, United Way of Denton County, Communities In Schools of North Texas (CISNT), Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), University of North Texas, and Texas Woman’s University. Interested volunteers sign up for an option (either school-based or community-based mentoring) and are directed to the appropriate organization (CISNT or BBBS) to complete the application and orientation process. Once through that, they’re matched with a student that they meet with for one hour every week. That’s it. Just one hour each week. Volunteers spend more time than that playing Pokemon Go or watching Netflix every week.
Talking about the benefits of mentoring, Gary Henderson - President & CEO of United Way of Denton County - who serves as the backbone organization of Mentor Denton, says “If we’re going to break the effects of poverty from one generation to another, it starts with education. Mentoring is critically important. We know that when working with at-risk youth, research has shown that if those kiddos have one positive, healthy, adult relationship in their life, in addition to their teacher, the probability of them finishing school, graduating, and being prepared for life goes up dramatically. Dropout prevention is achieved through these safe, healthy relationships and is why community mentoring is incredibly successful.”
If you’re interested in learning more about at-risk students in Denton ISD, we suggest checking out this Community Needs Assessment on Education from United Way of Denton County. Be sure to check out the Mentor Denton website and like them on Facebook. If you haven’t seen the announcement yet, The Dentonite will be hosting a multi-venue house show festival in January called Band Together Denton that will benefit this awesome organization, so make plans to be at that January 20-21 (seriously, you aren’t going to want to miss it).