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Celebrating Mentoring Month: Delaware County Supervisors proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month. From left, Ben Krouse–Gagne, Supervisor Jeff Madlom, Delaware County Mentoring Coordinator Ellen Krogmann, Supervisor Pete Buschmann, Supervisor Shirley Helmrichs, Kathy Rempe, Lea-Ann Smith and Amy Swanson.

The Delaware County Board Supervisors recognized January as National Mentoring Month at its Jan. 6 meeting, and heard an update on the mentoring program in the county.

Ellen Krogmann, mentoring coordinator for Delaware County with Helping Services for Youth and Families, reported that there are 45 matches between mentors and mentees within West Delaware, Maquoketa Valley and Edgewood-Colesburg school districts.

“Our mission is to connect youth with a caring adult who can help them aspire, achieve and develop to their fullest potential,” she said. “We want to create relationships where youth feel connected, valued and empowered.”

Kids in the program are between 6-16 years of age. Mentoring programs are school-based, after-school and community-based.

“School-based mentoring is lunch-time mentoring,” she said. “School-based mentoring might mean students work with their mentor on an academic area. They also have access to board games and crafts.”

Krogmann explained that sometimes children just need to talk. “Often they just need someone who will lend an ear and encourage them to make good choices. They might talk about how their day has gone or what they are excited about.”

Helping Services for Youth and Families is a prevention program, discouraging kids from engaging in risky behaviors. “We survey our kids about alcohol, tobacco and drug use,” Krogmann told the supervisors. “We want them to steer clear of those things. On our survey, 94% shared they are avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”

She said all mentors are screened.

“We interview the mentors, do a background check on them and get to know them better so we can match them with the right child.”

Upcoming events for Helping Services for Youth and Families in Manchester include:

• Wednesday, Feb. 12 — Vaping Training: A Dangerous Trend, at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Fellowship Hall, 6:30-8 p.m.

• Tuesday, Feb. 25 — Mentor Mingle, 9-11 a.m., Aunt Emmys.

• Saturday, March 7 — Rock ‘N’ Bowl Annual Bowling Event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lightning Lanes Family Center.