‘Every student is one caring adult away from being a success story’

FD schools seek mentors

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Lydia Fowler, 18, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High, right, sits with her mentor, Sue Hewett, at the school recently. Hewett has been mentoring Fowler since she was in kindergarten.

Mentors can help students improve their self-confidence and attitude about school, according to Corey Moody, Fort Dodge Community School District mentoring coordinator.

“Every student is one caring adult away from being a success story,” Moody said. “I think that is so true, because every kid could use an additional adult, a positive person to help guide them.”

With that in mind, the Fort Dodge Community School District is seeking more mentors for its students, particularly at the elementary level.

“Last year we had a big push for the freshman,” Moody said. “But we are going to go back to finding more for the early elementary and having them stay with the same student throughout the years.”

According to Moody, young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor are about 55 percent more likely to enroll in college. They are also 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly, he said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Lydia Fowler, 18, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High, found a poster displayed outside of Corey Moody’s office that applies to her. Moody is a counselor who leads the mentoring program at the school. The quote by Oprah Winfey, says, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Her mentor, Sue Hewett, of Fort Dodge, stands at right.

The FDCSD established its mentoring program in 1994 as part of BRIDGES, a school-based youth service program.

BRIDGES stands for believe, respect, inform, dedication, goals, encourage and support.

Mentors from businesses, agencies and community organizations spend one hour a week with a student at one of the district’s elementary, middle or high schools.

The idea is to pair an elementary-aged student with a mentor, and if it’s a good match, that mentor will stay with that student through high school.

Moody said having strong mentors can help students in a variety of ways, including improving relationships with parents, teachers, and peers, and an improvement in attendance and grades.

“The impacts we see — they might just have a better day,” he said. “They have something to look forward to, another person who cares about them. There’s lots of things.”

The district has about 100 mentors.

Moody said the district would like to add about 25 more.

To sign up for the mentoring program or for more information, contact Corey Moody at cmoody@fdschools.org or call 574-5469.