COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 170
September 10, 1999

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Mentoring Programs

 
Over the past few months, Attorney General Mark Earley has worked to 
recruit mentors for children as a way to prevent juvenile crime, youth 
violence, and gang involvement.  He recently launched a new initiative, 
Virginia's Future: Building Up the First Generation of the New Century!  
This is why our office has engaged in a partnership with Attorney 
General Mark Earley to raise 2000 new mentors this year.

A mentor is someone who cares about our youth and is committed to making 
a difference in his or her life.  A mentor is also considered a friend 
who can offer companionship and a listening ear to a child in need.  
National experts have identified that children who are mentored are less 
likely to engage in violence, drug use, or truancy.  Experts further 
reveal that these children are more likely to complete their education 
and get along better with their family members.  Therefore, as these 
mentors are recruited, it would be a good use of these resources if they 
had the opportunity to mentor in the schools under our direction.

Many school divisions already have mentoring programs in place.  If not, 
we encourage them to start one.  The Lunch (or Breakfast) Buddies 
program is attractive to many and is an ideal first step in mentoring 
because it involves only one lunch (or breakfast) a month.  Typically, 
the school would pair mentors with those students (preferably the same 
students for the entire school year) who could benefit from mentoring.  
The school would then set up a time for the mentors to meet with the 
students for about one and one half-hours and get to know them, help 
them with their homework, and show them that they are important.  In 
addition, the school would let the mentors know of any significant 
events in which their lunch (or breakfast) buddies are participating so 
they could attend if possible.  

The next important task is for principals and teachers to welcome 
citizens to come to the school and mentor students in a safe 
environment.  Mentors can be business persons, government employees, 
college personnel or private citizens -- any person who believes in 
teaching youth the value of education, personal responsibility, and 
good citizenship.  As the Attorney General and our office work in 
collaboration to raise mentors, please have programs in place to welcome 
the mentors and provide a secure time and place for them to meet with 
our students.

The Office of Compensatory Programs recently provided copies of two 
mentoring documents to all Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities 
Act (SDFSCA) Coordinators.  They were:

*Developing a School-Based Mentor Program for At Risk Youth, and

*Handbook for Mentors.

These materials were originally developed in 1995 by the Communities in 
School (CIS) program in Chesterfield County under a grant from the 
Office of the Governor, utilizing SDFSCA funds.  The materials were 
updated and revised in late 1998.  

We are indebted to the CIS program personnel for granting permission for 
duplication rights.  As a result of their kind gesture, the mentoring 
materials have been reprinted by the Virginia Department of Education 
for statewide distribution. Upon request, copies are available from the 
department, free of charge.  An order form is enclosed.

For information about the CIS Program in Chesterfield County, contact 
Martha Frickert at (804) 560-5706.  For information about a 
Lunch/Breakfast Buddy Program, contact Dayle Dunn, specialist, school-
business partnerships and volunteer programs, Richmond City Public 
Schools at (804) 780-7711. Another important resource is the National 
Mentoring Partnership's website (http://www.mentoring.org).  
Questions about the SDFSCA Program in Virginia should be directed to 
Arlene Cundiff at (804) 225-2871. 


PDS:ADC:tsc

Enclosure:      A hard copy of this memo and its attachment will be 
                sent to the Superintendent's office.