The Starfish Mentoring program was started in 1997 to provide one-on-one mentoring support for Rappahannock children, between 6 and 17, who are considered at risk. The mentors are trained adult volunteers who meet regularly with these children. The program works closely with the public schools and is comprised solely of volunteers and managed by a director. The Starfish program is funded through the Headwaters Foundation.
The Starfish Mentoring program provides the vital support that many children at risk need in meeting
the social, emotional, and academic challenges of childhood and adolescence. Mentoring activities
may be social, educational or recreational. A mentor can often make the difference as to whether or not a child succeeds in developing the self-esteem and confidence necessary to grow into a healthy, productive adult.
How to Become a Mentor
Mentors, who must be over the age of 21, are desperately needed in Rappahannock County. Many adults assume they do not have the skills needed, or believe they cannot make the required commitment to be a mentor. Sadly, they never discover how naturally mentoring comes to most of us and how easy it is to do. To be an effective mentor you must care about children, and be willing to spend at least two hours a week with them.
In additon to an initial orientation, mentors receive ongoing training and support. Volunteer professional consultants also provide assistance as needed. Each mentee is screened to ensure that his or her placement with a Starfish mentor is appropriate.
COMMUNITY: Starfish Mentoring’s success is due to the outstanding volunteer efforts of its mentors, who are guided and supported by a group of highly experienced professional volunteers, including teachers, psychologists and social workers.
AT-RISK STUDENTS AND SUMMER CAMPS: Starfish Mentoring recognizes that summer enrichment opportunities, such as summer camps, can play a crucial role in preventing summer learning loss for at-risk students. According to extensive research done by Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for Summer Learning “two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.” (Alexander et al., 2007)
Headwaters is generously supported by individuals who make unrestricted annual gifts, donations which enable bridging the gap between the costs of its programs, such as Starfish Mentoring, and the contributions donated by major funders.
Starfish Mentoring is also collaborating with the local elementary school to provide targeted, curriculum-driven tutoring in reading to identified low-achieving students in Kindergarten-2nd grade. This one-to-one tutoring will be a yearlong effort, pairing a trained Starfish tutor with a specific child. At the high school, Starfish Mentoring coaches will be focusing on junior and senior students, working in one-to-one relationships, to improve the high school student’s transition into the community, post secondary education or the workplace after graduation.
If you are interested in becoming a Mentor or would like more information about donating to Starfish Mentoring, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org