Partners' logo gets face lift

Partners Mentoring Association has changed their logo for a new look. A fitting move for a service organization that strives to be fluid to meet human needs.

"In the same way that many youth need assistance small public interest organizations, such as Partners Mentoring Association, need a helping hand in the fast track, high technology world of the 21st Century," Partners' Executive Director Marcia Hughes said. "We are rising to the call to assist troubled youth and to strengthen our communities. Communications is central to responding to that call and many companies and individuals are a part of our new look. We thank them for mentoring us."

The new logo design was created for and donated to Partners by U.S. West (now Qwest) prior to its recent corporate merger.

Partners, a mentoring program throughout Colorado, currently has 12 affiliate offices, including one in Moffat County. The organization's programs serve approximately 5,000 youth annually and have helped more than 38,000 children during its 32-year history in Colorado.

"The stresses and demands placed on today's youth make it imperative for youth to have positive role-modeling relationships with adults," Moffat County Partners Director, Debi Landoll, said.

The youth of today are challenged more than ever by having to cope with troubled families, health problems, living in rural or isolated communities, and struggling with the lure of drug use, Landoll said.

"Key principles to help youth handle those problems are a personal one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, a safe place to learn and grow, a marketable skill to use upon graduation, and a chance to give back to their peers and community," she said.

Moffat County Partners offers support to the youth of Craig through three programs. One-on-One Mentoring matches a youth (Junior Partner) with an adult (Senior Partner) who spend at least three hours a week together. Group Mentoring provides activities with adult interaction for youth who are on a waiting list for a One-on-One mentor.

Female-Specific Mentoring is a new program that offers an opportunity for group female role-modeling and goal setting for girls ages 11to15.

The activities in this program are specifically designed to provide and expose the girls to non-traditional, cultural, gender-equitable ideas and opportunities to enhance their self-esteem, health and spiritual growth.

Robin McKenzie of Craig is an adult mentor for two Junior Partners. One is a young boy she just became partners with, and the other is Amber, age 12, who has been her partner for a just over a year.

"Amber's good points have really come out in this program," McKenzie said. "Instead of her trying to be the tough kid on the street, she's learning to show concern for others and she's more respectful towards her mom. She's growing up." McKenzie smiled broadly at Amber and Amber grinned back, then the two gave each other a bear hug.

Amber likes having McKenzie as a Senior Partner.

"It's good because she helps me with my homework and comes to school and has lunch with me," she said. "I'd probably be in a lot of trouble if I weren't in this program."

The Partners program in Moffat County is different from other mentoring programs, Landoll said, because it uses a structured method incorporating activity, life-skill training, community service, and continual training and support for its adult mentors.

According to Landoll, 60 youth are currently enrolled in the Moffat County programs. Only 15 youth are matched to mentors and 45 are on a waiting list for a mentor. Children have to be referred to the program by a teacher, counselor or other community programs and need to come voluntarily; they cannot be court-ordered to participate. The adult mentors are all volunteers, and the program encourages parent involvement.

"Mentors need to be at least 21 years old," Landoll said. "We look for someone who can spend three hours a week, be a role model, and involve the youth in their own life. We would love to have more senior citizens and males volunteer. We have a shortage of men mentors right now, and a lot of kids don't have extended families today and they seem to crave contact with the older generation."

Couples, a husband and wife team or a pair of friends, can also volunteer to mentor a child.

"Our goal is to help at-risk kids learn good life skills so, hopefully, they will stay away from drugs, function well in school, go on to college, and develop the potential for becoming good citizens," Landoll said.

"All of our mentor relationships have resulted in incredible changes and results with the kids," Landoll said. "The partnerships we've matched have definitely made a difference in the lives of these kids."

For information on Partners or to volunteer to be a mentor, contact Landoll at 826-4261.

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