Mayor Calls On Citizens to Give One Hour a Week to Mentor Jacksonville Students | Politics

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Mayor Calls On Citizens to Give One Hour a Week to Mentor Jacksonville Students
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Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown announced today the launch of the Mayor’s Mentors, a public-private partnership to train and place 500 new school-based mentors with Duval County Public School students by April 1 at no cost to taxpayers.  The Mayor’s goal is to recruit, train and match mentors with Duval County Public School students to increase on-time, next grade promotion and graduation rates. For more information on becoming a Mayor’s Mentor, the public may call United Way’s 2-1-1 or visit www.coj.net/mayorsmentors.

“An aspect of improving our education system is giving young people every tool possible to promote their success, both in and out of the classroom,” said Mayor Brown.  “Mentors are a big part of this success.  Our job as mentors is to be the role models who inspire kids to overcome obstacles and learn.  Mentors model the way.  My Mayor’s Mentors program is what happens when organizations that have proven track records link caring mentors with kids to motivate our young people to become the role models of tomorrow.”

The Mayor’s Mentors public-private partnership is comprised of the following organizations: United Way Northeast Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, The Bridge of Northeast Florida, Communities In Schools of Jacksonville, Duval County Public Schools, The Jacksonville Children’s Commission, Take Stock In Children, Duval County Public School’s “Read it Forward Jax” program, Jack & Jill of America, Inc. Jacksonville Chapter, the Jacksonville Kappa League, Northside Community Involvement, Inc., the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Asian American Chamber of Jacksonville. These organizations have the infrastructure already in place to recruit, train and match mentors for school-based and community- and faith-based programs in Jacksonville.

There are two components of the Mayor’s Mentors initiative: school-based mentoring and community- and faith-based programs in Jacksonville.  The former runs from now until Apr. 1, 2012; the latter begins in the spring of 2012.  Mayor Brown will work with the private sector to provide funding for the expansion including additional training and development of metrics to measure outcomes.

United Way of Northeast Florida has agreed to serve as the coordinating organization ensuring that all mentors are provided a timely orientation, training and background screening in order to be matched with a mentee in a school based environment. Training will be provided by the Jacksonville Children’s Commission in addition to the training and orientation provided by the individual mentoring organizations. 

The Mayor called on the 300 people attending the luncheon at the Jacksonville Main Library to find an hour each week to be the positive, caring adult influence that has been shown to improve student academic success. The National Mentoring Partnership reports that more than half of students with mentors are less likely to skip school and get better grades and 86 percent more likely to seek higher education.

The Mayor’s Mentors initiative is a continuation of Mayor Brown’s campaign commitment to improve education in Duval County by supporting student academic success and personal development. Research shows that students with mentors are also less likely to use illegal drugs and alcohol, had better relationships with peers and family members and had higher levels of self-confidence.

“Successful partnerships like this begin with a vision, and then everyone pitching in for the common good,” said Connie Hodges, president of United Way of Northeast Florida.  “The Mayor’s Mentors initiative provides important visibility to the need for recruiting mentors to give Jacksonville’s children the best possible support for academic success.”

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