Greenbrier Middle School graduation coach Dolly Morris has work to do and needs help from the community.
She recently launched a mentoring program at Greenbrier Middle to help pupils who are at risk of getting off track to graduate from high school on time.
Morris is trying to recruit mentors for 130 at-risk pupils. If she could, however, she would find a mentor for each one of the school's 600-plus pupils.
Morris and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office recently held a training session for new mentors at the sheriff's office community service building in Appling.
"It is a daunting task. We have to multiply ourselves as educators," Morris said.
Curt Caywood, who works for Hometown Realty and drives a bus for the Columbia County school system, attended the session.
"I just enjoy working with kids, and I've coached," he said. "I think it's an age that they've got a lot of decisions to make. And they can go in a good direction or the wrong direction."
Evans resident Cindy Gilbert, who works at Fort Gordon, said she wanted to become a mentor to serve the community. She said she remembered when her two adult children were adolescents.
"It's a difficult, challenging time," she said.
Morris said volunteers should spend about an hour a week at the school with the pupil that they mentor. They can get together before or after school, or between classes. They also can meet during lunch, extracurricular activities or activity periods.
She said the key is consistency.
"If a child can come to school and feel like they have a connection with one caring adult in the building, they will begin to work for that person and they can achieve," Morris said. "There is never a more critical time in a child's development than at the middle school age, other than infancy."
For more information about the mentoring program, contact Deputy Leslie Wilkie at (706) 541-3977.
Morris also is available to speak to civic organizations about the program. She can be reached at (706) 650-6080.
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