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School to Introduce Mentoring Program

Las Colinas School in Camarillo is gearing up to start the Pleasant Valley School District’s only mentoring program.

The KARE Mentor Program’s goal is to help students develop talents and skills needed to succeed in a changing world, said Suzanne Kitchens, mentor coordinator.

The program places a mentor with a seventh- or eighth-grade student who wants to improve academic performance.

“Mentoring is a personal, one-to-one relationship between an older and a younger person for the purpose of passing on knowledge, experience and judgment and for providing guidance and friendship,” Kitchens said.

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Already 40 students have signed up for the program, but Kitchens said she doesn’t yet have enough mentors to match up with the children. She figures she’ll need as many as 60 mentors for the program to be a success.

“If a child is interested in computers, then we try to line them up with someone who’s a computer expert,” Kitchens said. “But it’s also helping children in other areas like self-esteem.”

Kitchens has approached various area businesses in her search for mentors, as well as juniors and seniors at Camarillo High School who have a grade point average of 3.0 or above.

The high school students usually connect with the seventh- and eighth-graders because it wasn’t so long ago they encountered the same trying times, Kitchens said.

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The seventh- and eighth-graders are monitored through their homeroom for improvement in grades, attendance and behavior and then are recognized for their successes. Kitchens has one recognition activity already planned: a self-esteem workshop at Universal Studios in early March.

Those interested in becoming a mentor can contact Suzanne Kitchens through the KARE Mentor Program at 484-0461. The commitment involves meeting every week for one hour after school with a child for this school year.


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