Volunteers give students a JUMP ahead through mentoring


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In his role as a mentor, Richie Lord, wearing a cap, has provided positive support and guidance to Brevard County students.

Courtesy of Jonathan Gibson

 

Students sometimes need help finding their way in life, and the more mature and experienced can help guide them. Mentoring programs in Titusville provide this important service.

Among them, on the south side of the city, is JUMP, (Jackson’s Ultimate Mentoring Program) at Jackson Middle School and Titusville High School.

Among those on the north side of the city is CHAMP (Community Helps Achieve Maximum Potential) which teams Hope for North Brevard with public schools in North Brevard County.

“North Brevard has some amazing and gifted students, but many have personal struggles that prevent them from choosing success,” the organization’s website states. “CHAMP is about positive role models, each committing to encourage one student for 30 minutes a week.”

Richie Lord, a family pastor at Park Avenue Baptist Church, has volunteered with JUMP.

“People can be afraid of the word mentoring,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be with a troubled student. Students might need tutoring or someone to talk to.”

Mentors offer personal support, as well as help with academics and career goals.

This has a variety of expressions. Lord spoke of a student who could never find his homework.

“He did it, but kept losing it,” Lord said.

The solution was to help the student organize his backpack.

Denise Meneghelli was a mentor with JUMP for nine years.

“Mentoring is being a friend to the student and being there for them,” she said. “Meetings take place during the school day, but not during class time. There is no set agenda.”

Mentors make a difference. Thanks to one who helped her mentee fill out forms, the student was accepted into Eastern Florida State College’s Dual Enrollment Program. The first in her family to attend college, she went on to pursue a four-year degree.

Meneghelli could not help but be proud of her own mentee.

“She is now enrolled at Stetson University,” Meneghelli said.

For information about JUMP and CHAMP, as well as applying to become a mentor, call The Forge Youth Center at 321-362-4408 or go to theforge.center.