During a presentation to the Board of Education at its Thursday meeting, church members Margaret Douthat and Joe Gervais, one of the mentors, explained the public-private partnership that began as a pilot at the school in far southwestern Kingsport and is in its third year.
“We just love to be in the journey of pouring in the students of John Adams (Elementary),” Douthat told the board after Adams counselor Ashley Marlow introduced Douthat and Gervais. She said the program works to be positive and help students become all they can become, with mentors giving positive feedback they hope has a ripple effect in the students’ families.
“Pouring into the lives is also pouring into the future,” she said.
Gervais and a video on the church’s Facebook site explained that mentors often eat breakfast or lunch with students, as well as play games or read. He said he spends 45 minutes to an hour a week at the school with his student, although he got to meet the student at the Carousel one day outside the school day. Gervais said he asks the student, who reminds him of his grandson, how his day and week have gone, about problems he might be having, about life in general and about what’s going on at home.
Gervais said he hopes one day the boy, who does not have a father living at home, will grow up to become a mentor himself.
Superintendent of Schools Jeff Moorhouse likened the program, among several across the system in which churches and other groups participate, to “just having more hands grabbing an oar” in moving students forward in learning and life.
Marlow said the program served a total of 15 students last year and so far is serving eight this year, with more students suited for a mentor, but volunteers are not available. For information about the program, contact the church.