Jasper County Juvenile Center in need of mentors

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JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — The Jasper County Juvenile Center is in desperate need of mentors.

April Foulks, Program Director, Jasper County Juvenile Office, said, “I dont think there is such a thing as a perfect mentor.”

The Jasper County Juvenile Center needs the community’s help to empower youth in the community–through mentorship.

“Gap is our mentoring program. It stands for guiding, advising, and preparing so that’s kind of what we wanted to do with the kids, guide them, advise them, and prepare them for the future.”

The program started about a year ago and was making progress.

“And then when the COVID happened because of some of our age differences and some people had underlying health issues, then for obvious reasons, they said you know, I probably can’t do this right now.”

Now they need more mentors to bridge the gap.

“We have a strong need for some male mentors right now, that are probaly into sports, would be good.”

Mentors like Luke Taylor.

Luke Taylor, Gap Program Mentor, said, “I’ve had a really good time with it so far. I matched up with a boy and they try to match you with kids who align with your interests and so I felt like I have a good match and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in his life.”

It is a big commitment to take on, but mentorship can be mutually beneficial as Foulks has seen from an unexcpected match of her own.

“I talk about this young lady that she’s constantly always telling me, you changed my life and I’m like you changed my life. You’ve made me a better person because of our relationship and that’s what my mentors are finding out, is that they’re really connecting with these kids,” said Foulks.

The gap program is a 12-month commitment.

Right now there is an immediate need for male mentors.

In order to become a mentor, you must agree to the time commitment.

Then complete gap traning before being matched.

You also must spend a minimum of 4 hours a month with your mentee, and communicate regularly with the program coordinator.

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