Pinellas' Lakewood Elementary seeks male volunteers for mentor program
Calling men of all ages, races, professions and convictions.
St. Petersburg's Lakewood Elementary needs "positive, hardworking men" to mentor fourth- and fifth-grade boys.
Last year, the 5,000 Role Models program had to turn away 10 boys because there weren't enough mentors. This year, Cedric Ferrell, a paraprofessional at Lakewood and a mentor himself, hopes to have enough volunteers to open the program up to third graders.
The program is modeled after 500 African American Male Role Models of Excellence, a program created in Miami-Dade County in 1993 with the help of then-Miami-Dade School Board member and current congresswoman Frederica Wilson. Pinellas adopted a similar version of the program in 1995. Mentors may discuss etiquette, money matters, hygiene, personal leadership, social pressures -- and, of course, how to tie a necktie -- with their mentees.
Mentors are expected to meet with their mentee bi-weekly during lunch or dinner after school. Or, mentors can give their mentee a 30-minute motivational speech once after school. The meeting day is up to the mentor's discretion.
Those interested must attend a mentor recruitment meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lakewood, 4151 6th Street South, to complete a volunteer registration form and complete the mentor training session that night. Those interested in attending can contact Ferrell at firstname.lastname@example.org. A meeting will be held for parents interested in signing up their children at 5 p.m.
Last year, 45 to 50 boys participated in the program -- that number fluctuated because of student transfers. Boys with excellent, very good or satisfactory conduct grades will be invited to the program, and boys have the opportunity to improve their conduct and apply after every quarterly report card.