MEGA Mentors, now in its fourth year, provides mentoring and tutoring in three Chesterfield high schools and one middle school. They are growing faster than the group can keep tutors and mentors vounteering.
MEGA Mentors needs more volunteers. Greg Cummings, president of MEGA Mentors, said the all-volunteer group is going great guns, but they need more help. An hour-and-a-half on Tuesdays is the only commitment asked of the volunteers. According to numerous testimonials, the rewards far outweigh the effort.
“One of the best things about mentoring is watching the growth of the students as they navigate their school life with better decision making, increased confidence as their grades improve and the look on their faces when their achievements are recognized,” said Machel Jones, mentor at Thomas Dale High School. “None of the students start with the same set of grades or circumstances but, they are all capable of achieving and maturing as they continue in the program. I enjoy walking through progress with them.”
The mentoring program started as a way to “make a positive measurable difference in the lives of African-American students” but has expanded to all students.
Mr. Cummings said each student needs to have a good set of values, “Respect, responsibility, effort and achievement. If we are good role models and center our beliefs on the core tenants, the student will achieve ultimately.”
During the 2012-13 school year MEGA Mentors worked with 280 students. This year the success of the program is in the numbers – 380 are now enrolled in the program.
One-hundred volunteer mentor or tutor 380 students, but Cummings said they have a way to make tutors and mentors comfortable with the ratio.
“It’s really quite simple,” Cummings said. “Say you have three students that need help. You find out what’s giving them a problem and go one-by-one – OK you do this and you work on this.”
At the end of last year’s school year David Wyman, Dale representative on Chesterfield School Board said, “MEGA Mentors has grown from a handful of strong leaders [in 2009] to an organization of over 100 individuals and donors helping out our youth in multiple middle and high schools. They have become part of the fabric of those schools.”
Second Baptist Church, as well as some other area churches have added to the effort. According to Cummings, Howard Corey and James Delph led the effort from Second Baptist and that’s worked out very well because they were able to add members to the organization.
“To see the change in attitude and confidence in most of these young men and women after a year is priceless,” said Corey, a member of the Second Baptist Church group of mentors.
The group is affiliated with the Chesterfield Public Education Foundation and has close ties to Communities in Schools of Chesterfield County. Much of their initial guidance came from Virginia Mentoring and Chesterfield Schools.
Success always outweighs the bumps in the road. A need for more volunteers is the challenge, getting more people involved can be daunting.
“I am extremely proud of the success of MEGA Mentors and the life-changing results they are making with our students,” said Marcus J. Newsome, Ed.D., Superintendent of Chesterfield Schools.
Visit megamentors.org for more information about the program. Call Howard Corey if you would like information on getting involved at 508-404-0549 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org