Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Adult mentors must be at least 18 years old, and be of good character. After applying, an extensive background check is performed, including a home visit. Although no formal background is required for mentors, they do receive some training and an orientation session at the Lockport office.
Then, the adult is matched with a youth that shares their same interests.
“We only ask that the adult devote about a half a day every other week. The program is all about building relationships. Our mentors really are champions for their children,” Bettino said.
Mentors can engage in a variety of activities with their youth. Obviously, many times the boys like to play or watch sports and the girls like “pamper days” activities or shopping, but other activities are also fine.
For example, one boys and his mentor attend home improvement classes offered at Home Depot.
Although the program is located in Lockport, there is a satellite program at the Boys and Girls Club in Niagara Falls, which is also popular.
That program is organized by Erin Weber and is staffed primarily with Niagara University interns.
Heather Cahill is in charge of intakes and home visits.
Neither think that the agency’s change will even be noticed by people who participate in the program.
Bettino has been with the agency for 23 years, and she’s certain that the change will improve the agency.
“We’ve been serving the needs of Niagara County youth for 40 years. Nobody knows better how to do that than we do. This will help us serve more children,” Bettino said.
To volunteer as a mentor, call 434-1855, or visit the office at 86 Park Ave.