With no money for more teachers or counselors, Iowa kids at risk might benefit from a mentor. An idea that’s worked on the job will be tried in grade schools, as Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson announced a new “mentoring partnership” this week. Pederson cites research showing “at-risk” students who have mentors do better in school and are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. McKee Elementary math teacher Rita Lans became a mentor herself, saying it’s just a couple of hours every month.Activities are suggested through the program, and Lans says they find plenty to do together, like bingo with residents of a senior center, sledding or a movie. Lans’ little sister in the program is nine-year-old Jordan Negrete who says Lans is like a sister to her now.Jordan’s one of fifteen kids at McKee Elementary who have a big brother or sister. Lans says lots of other kids would like to sign up, if only there were enough adult volunteers. To find out more about the program go to www.iowamentoring-dot-org.
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