After a successful year one, the Mentor Denton program launched this week with big goals for 2014-2015.
The group hopes to match 10,000 students in the Denton Independent School District with 10,000 volunteer mentors from across the community.
The group is a collaborative effort between the city, school district, Communities in Schools North Texas, the United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Leadership Denton, UNT, TWU and We Denton Do It.
Launched last year, they identify students in the ISD considered “at-risk” to drop out before graduation and try to give them a positive role model to help get them on the right track.
Volunteers meet with the students once a week for about an hour at their school to help them with homework, play games and just talk and get to know one another.
"No words can describe that sort of feeling you get when you walk away that day knowing that something you may have said is going to change the course of this child's life forever,” said Glen Farris Squibb, a leader of the group and one of their first mentors.
Squibb mentors an eighth grader at Calhoun Middle School named Devon who’s struggled to adjust back to public school after a year away and with little support outside of school.
"Just the way he's responded to me. I make him shake my hand every day. His confidence is a lot higher," said Squibb. "Ya know, this is my friend. This eighth grader at Calhoun Middle School is a dear close friend of mine now, so it's a powerful thing."
City Councilman Kevin Roden, who also leads the group, told council members Tuesday night that they’ve gotten to this point with virtually no budget and just a lot of collaborative support.
Roden and several other community leaders also serve as mentors in the program and are encouraging others to give their time as well.
This year the group has expanded additional options for volunteers who can’t make the once-a-week commitment or are looking for other ways to help.
Squibb said it’s really about securing the city’s future by making sure all of Denton’s students succeed and move on to greater things by getting the push in the right direction.
For more information and to volunteer go to mentordenton.org.