BETHEL – Jessica Truman, mentoring coordinator at the Child Health Center, recently visited with the Bethel Rotary to explain how the community benefited from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program.

Truman explained that site-based mentoring had made a difference in schools throughout Maine and that the Child Health Center’s programs support children throughout Oxford, Androscoggin, southern Franklin and northern Cumberland counties.

The site-based program matches high school students, who volunteer to be a positive influence, with children in the local elementary and middle schools. The matches meet once a week for an hour. During this time the two work on school assignments, with which the elementary or middle school child may be having difficulty, and take time to play games and talk about a variety of topics.

Research of mentoring programs throughout the state has shown that children at risk benefit from mentoring programs. Statistics have shown that children who participate in mentoring programs have an increase in self-confidence, 38 percent have reported a better relationship with family, peers and other adults, and 33 percent have shown improvement in their school performance

Truman said the Child Health Center offers community-based mentoring throughout the four counties. It matches an adult from the community with a child at risk. The adult, who acts as a positive role model, and the child with whom they are matched, spend a minimum of three hours twice a month involved in activities in the community. The activities may be sporting events, going to a movie or a variety of things that interest the child and their mentor.

Truman also talked about Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the annual fund-raiser for the Child Health Center’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, and thanked the Rotary for their support of the event.

If interested in learning more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, people should call the center at 743-7035 and ask for Jessica.

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