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Community Leaders To Address Urgent Area Need For Youth And Family Mentoring

January 20, 2000 -- Community leaders will examine the benefits and impact of mentoring -- while exploring the possibility of creating new ways to address unmet mentoring needs in the Charlottesville/Albermarle area -- during a day-long event Jan. 28 at Monticello High School.

Madison House, the United Way and the Weed and Seed Network will present a Community Summit on Youth and Family Mentoring from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school.

During the summit, approximately 100 representatives from churches, businesses, governmental agencies, non-profit groups and schools will learn about mentoring programs that connect volunteers with children and families who need caring support. After learning about youth and family mentoring programs throughout Central Virginia, participants will develop a community action plan to expand the quantity and quality of area mentoring programs, organizers say.

"Charlottesville is the largest municipality in Virginia without a Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America program," said Dave Norris, associate director of Madison House, the office that coordinates student volunteerism at the University of Virginia. "There is a huge demand for mentoring that is not being met in our area."

Madison House, Norris noted, runs the Big Sibling Program that is the largest youth mentoring program in Central Virginia. Although the program attracts about 250 U.Va. student volunteers a year, that number is insufficient to meet demand, he said.

"Both Madison House and the United Way are flooded by calls each year from families and schools that want to place youth in a mentoring program," Norris said. "There are a lot of

kids and a lot of families who could benefit from having more mentors and positive role models in their lives. We hope to educate and inspire people to make a commitment."

Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, who has endorsed mentoring as a way of preventing teenage crime, is tentatively scheduled to give a keynote address at lunch. Sue Friedman, former director of the Texas Partners in Education, will also speak at lunch.

During the summit representatives of numerous mentoring programs will describe effective practices. In addition, a representative of the Virginia Youth Violence Project will describe research on the impact of mentoring.

Also at the summit two U.Va. students, April Park and Michael Altberg, will unveil "Mentorville," a new Web site they created as an online guide to area youth mentoring programs. The site was developed as a project in a Web publishing class at U.Va.’s McIntire School of Commerce.

"The Web site will be a useful resource both for people who want to volunteer as a mentor and for parents and guidance counselors who want to find the right mentoring program for a child," Norris said.

Sponsored by Virginia Power, the summit is open to the public without admission charge. However, advance registration is requested. To register, contact Dave Norris at Madison House at (804) 977-7051.

Established in 1969, Madison House annually provides about 3,000 student volunteers at 80 area sites including schools, nursing homes, migrant labor camps and other service locations. Madison House’s 16 student-run service programs range from Adopt-a-Grandparent to Housing Improvement.

The United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area brings together numerous resources in the community to serve individuals and families in need. Its Volunteer Services division promotes volunteerism, especially by connecting potential volunteers to community agencies.

The Weed and Seed Network is a federally funded initiative that provides grant money to organizations. Administered through the city of Charlottesville, the initiative seeks to "weed out" crime by "seeding," or providing funding, to promising youth programs.

For more information on the summit, contact Dave Norris at (804) 977-7051 or dmn4n@virginia.edu.

Community Summit on Youth and Family Mentoring

Friday, January 28

Monticello High School

Agenda

8:30-9 a.m. Registration

9-9:45 a.m. Opening Session

Welcome from Irving Jones, principal, Monticello High School

Summit Overview by Dave Norris, associate director, Madison House

Opening Remarks by William Lewis, owner, dup*lex Copy Center

Mentoring Success Stories

10-10:50 a.m. Breakout Sessions I

1. Research on Impacts of Mentoring/Elements of a Successful Mentoring Program by Mark Hiatt, Virginia Youth Violence Project

2. Engaging the Faith Community -- LOVE Inc., Faith Partners for

Children, Bethel Youth Alive Center

3. Nuts & Bolts of Starting and Running an Effective Mentoring Program (Liability Issues, Recruiting, Screening, Matching, Training, Retaining, etc.) -- Virginia One-to-One: The Mentoring Partnership

11-11:50 a.m. Breakout Sessions II

4. Family Mentoring Programs -- Hope Partnerships, International Rescue

Committee Family Mentoring Program, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service

Financial Mentors and Fluvanna Correctional Center Transition Mentors Programs

5. School-Based Mentoring -- Lunch Buddies (Virginia Power), Mentor by Modem Program (Goochland County Schools), The Carver Promise (Richmond)

6. U.Va. Student Mentoring Programs -- Madison House Big Siblings, ABLE Big Siblings, BioTech Academic Mentors, Science Fair Mentoring Program, Young Women Leaders Program

noon-1:15 p.m. Lunch/Keynote Speakers -- Attorney General Mark Earley (invited)

Sue Friedman, former Director, Texas Partners in Education

1:30-2:20 p.m. Breakout Sessions III

7. Big Brothers/Big Sisters: Can It Be Revived Here? — Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Waynesboro and Lynchburg

8. Steering Teens on the Right Path -- Teensight, TeensGive, Region 10

Youth Council, The Elizabeth Project

9. Weed & Seed and Other Resources for Starting and Funding a Mentoring Program

2:30-4 p.m. Community Action Planning/Closing Remarks

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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