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Mentoring program to begin in the Ferndale School District

Back in April, “Be the One” mentoring program run by Partners for Schools, a 501c3 non-profit organization, and currently in place in the Lynden School District, announced they were looking for community support for a similar program in the Ferndale School District.

This week, Partners for Schools announced Ferndale School District officials have provided funds to cover the biggest expense, the salary for a mentor coordinator, for the first semester of the 2018-19 school year and community donations will need to take care of that expense from thereafter. As a result, the mentoring program will begin in the Ferndale School District this year according to Partners for Schools co-founder Nancy McHarness.

McHarness said the mentor coordinator job position has been advertised and interviews for the position will take place next week. Once the mentor coordinator position is filled, mentor training for those who have expressed an interest will begin. The process of matching mentors with students is expected to begin by mid-November McHarness said.

McHarness and her husband Dennis started Partners for Schools in 2010. Over 150 students at Lynden High and Middle Schools have participated in the program so far according to Partners for Schools co-founder Nancy McHarness.

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Mentors are volunteers who commit to spending 1 hour a week with a student during school hours for at least one year. The goal, according to the program website, is “to bridge the gap in a student’s life and build hope for their future.” Mentors’ friendship, support and encouragement will help their students navigate toward their next educational and/or employment decisions.

The program is community driven and 100% funded by the community according to McHarness.

Supporting the program takes two forms according to McHarness; financial and volunteer. Financial support is needed to support the program and donations by individuals and business sponsors can be made online. People interested in volunteering as a mentor can fill out the mentor interest form online and a mentor coordinator will send an application.

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