Mentors talk, make connections, establish friendships with students

Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Over the past few years, the Aspirations Advocate Program has made a positive impact in the lives of local students. Begun at Skyview High School in 2000, the program brings community volunteers and students together for weekly meetings that last throughout the school year. Mentors and students talk, they research colleges, they look at job opportunities, they carve pumpkins, make gingerbread houses, and most importantly, make connections and establish friendships.

Through grant funding made available through Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Aspirations Advocate Program has expanded. Volunteers in Homer, Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna have made it possible to bring Aspirations to students in eight schools around the Kenai Peninsula. I am pleased and grateful to announce the following program sites and publicly acknowledge the volunteer mentors who make it possible:

At Nikiski Middle-Senior High School: Site Coordinator Mary Kennedy works with mentors Sharon Brower, Kelly Hitchcock, Rachel Parra, Linda Spotts and Colleen Wik.

At Kenai Middle School:

At Kenai Central High School:

At Soldotna Middle School:

At Soldotna High School:

At Skyview High School:

At Homer Middle School:

At Homer High School:

These mentors make the time and keep their commitment to work with their students throughout the school year. For many, this volunteer opportunity is possible because of employers who have given them release time from their work to participate in the Aspirations Program.

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the following businesses and organizations for their support of our youth by allowing release time for their employees to work as mentors: North Peninsula Recreation Service Area, Home Depot, Kenai Fire Department, Horace Mann Insurance, Homer Police Department, Cottonwood Health Center, Great Bear Ford, Peninsula Christian Center, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Arby's Restaurants, Boys & Girls Club, Kenai Police Department, Homer Electric Association, City of Homer, Agrium, Staywell Chiropractic and Abundant Life Church.

Studies have shown that mentors make a positive difference in the lives of our youth. I am grateful and humbled at the generous gifts of time, concern and commitment that these mentors have made to the students in our Aspirations Advocate Program.

Without these mentors and the businesses and organizations that support their efforts, this program would not be possible. Thank you, mentors, for your work with our kids! You are heroes to us all!

Sheilah-Margaret Pothast, District facilitator Aspirations Advocate Program, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

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