The Tomah Area School District is launching a new mentor program at Lemonweir Elementary School.

The program is a coordinated effort by the school district, Gundersen Global Partners and volunteers in the Tomah community. Volunteers will be paired to help students transition into the school day to be successful in their school environment.

A study conducted in 2007 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showed that mentored youth did significantly better than youth in the non-mentored comparison group on a number of important outcome measures including: fewer depressive symptoms, greater acceptance by their peers, more positive beliefs about their ability to succeed in school and better grades in school.

Mentors from the Tomah community will volunteer one morning each week, between 7:15-8:15 a.m. Mentors can volunteer more than one morning each week if their schedule allows.

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Each student selected by Lemonweir staff for the mentorship program will be paired with a mentor who can provide consistent weekly support during the school year. The mentors will greet their students when they arrive at school, sit with students and talk to them, escort students to lockers and classroom and help them get organized and coach students through transition into the classroom. The focus will be on building a trusting relationship and allowing the student to experience positive adult contact.

Anyone interested can find more information and the volunteer application on the district website, Look for the Mentorship link on the Lemonweir homepage.

An orientation for the program will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Contact the District social worker, Jesana Denter-Eckelberg at 608-374-1714 or with any questions.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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