Schools are looking for volunteer mentors

Webster Bank employee Prashanth Narayanan oversees Ameer Alhameedawi’s work at the Middle School of Plainville last winter during a mentor activity at the school.

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Plainville Community Schools volunteer mentor program is seeking adults who are looking to make a positive impact on a student’s life.

Sue Bradley, the volunteer program coordinator, said that over the past 29 years the program itself has changed very little but the number of mentors continues to grow. For the past few years volunteer participation has fluctuated between 60 and 70 participants. Currently, there are 70 adults mentoring students across all grade levels.

“They are giving the gift of time by letting someone know that they matter,” said Bradley.

According to school officials mentoring sessions are held during the school year, on school grounds, and typically run for 45 minutes once a week. The time of the session depends on the grade level. At Plainville High School volunteers will need to coordinate to meet with their mentee during a study hall, and volunteers at the Middle School of Plainville, Frank T. Wheeler, Linden Street, and Louis Toffolon elementary schools will typically meet with their mentees during lunch or recess.

“It’s a beautiful program,” said Bradley. “It’s amazing because many mentors who started in the beginning are still friends with their mentee. I still have lunch with one of mine.”

The coordinator explained that she tries to look for similarities between the volunteers and students by “trying to really hear what the mentee wants and needs.”

And while many volunteers begin mentoring as a way to pay it forward, Bradley believes the true beauty of the program stems from the impact participation has on the mentor as well as the student. In her opinion volunteering empowers the mentors just as much it empowers the mentee.

Bradley said the impact the program has on the students is huge as it almost incentivizes the students to attend school on the days they meet with their mentor, leading to increased attendance rates for mentored students.

Any and all adults interested in participating, or are looking for more information, are asked to contact Bradley by calling (860) 793-3220 ext. 6610, or by emailing bradleys@plainvilleschools.org.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.