The Rockford MELD Mentoring Program is a new and exciting federally funded program. MELD offers mentoring services to youth in grades K-8 in the Rockford Public School District.
Eligibility requirements for youth are: Youth have a parent incarcerated in a state or federal prison; the youth must attend a Rockford Public School; and must be in grades K-8.
Mentors must be 18 or older, will complete an application process including background check, interview and training, and are willing to commit to a youth two hours a week for one year.
The need is great: 70 percent of all children whose parents are incarcerated will one day be incarcerated themselves; 42 percent have poor grades; 36 percent get into trouble at school; 25 percent have problems with substance use, skipping school, and/or getting in trouble outside of school.
Benefits of mentoring are: 84 percent are more likely to attend school than non-mentored peers; 53 percent are more likely to go to college; 46 percent are more likely to refrain from drug use; 27 percent are more likely to refrain from consuming alcohol.
If you are interested in referring a youth, becoming a mentor, or know of someone who is, contact Rockford MELD at (815) 965-8336, ext. 13 or 14.
From the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2005, issue