Youth Services Pleads for More Mentors

Youth Services told Channel 8 Saturday that it is short about half the number of volunteer mentors it needs for its mentor, mentee program.

"We do have a shortage of mentors, so that would be great for people just to get involved," said Mentor of the Year Donna Evans.

Youth Services primarily targets homeless or at-risk youth. Organizers said there are roughly 60 young mentees but roughly half that number of volunteer mentors currently help.

"The kids, they need a mentor, because they need to stay off the streets," said mentor Dennis Chambers. He has been working with his mentee for a little more than two years.

His mentee told Channel 8 they go out to eat, play video games, and go to sporting events together. He said Chambers has helped him learn to be patient and stay out of trouble.

Evans said many people do not understand that it is not a major time commitment to volunteer with Youth Services. She said she does not have a binding volunteer schedule, and she meets or chats on the phone with her mentee two or three times a month. She said there are other reasons volunteers might be afraid to come forward.

"They see the violence that's going on with youth today," said Evans. "They may be afraid. They may not know the child, but deep down, I believe that if they got to know a lot of the kids, they'd see themselves in that child."

Youth Services said it will take as many adult volunteers as it can. It is especially looking for additional male mentors. It is located at 311 S. Madison Ave., and its phone number is 918-582-0061.