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Boys & Girls Club Seeks Mentors - KOAM TV 7

Boys & Girls Club Seeks Mentors

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

In a class of 25, with two supervisors, 11-year old Chris Ugalde doesn't always get one-on-one attention. Except when his mentor, Cameron is around. 

"We usually play basketball or football and talk," Ugalde said. "And he like to make jokes and stuff like that."

The mentor program at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri has volunteers helping out one hour a week, paying personal attention to kids. 

"[The kids'] attitudes are improving [after mentoring]. They're different," mentor Megan Williams said. "You just see a 180 with these kids."

Williams is one of just 5 consistently active mentors. The club wants to increase that number, so it can stop limiting the amount of children in the mentor program.

"A lot of people here are college students," Williams said. "So a lot of people graduate and they move on."

"We get mentors in, and then they might leave unexpectedly or it doesn't work with their schedule," Executive Director Emily Marion said. "So then our kids kind of get left hanging for a bit. So it kind of causes this gap in their services."

The club has lowered the commitment of mentors to help alleviate struggles to recruit. Serving roughly 200 kids a day, the club likes to keep a 2-to-25 staff to child ratio. And if the mentor program grows, it would not only help meet, but beat, that ratio. 

"We would like to see about 30 mentors for our program and be able to serve at least 40 kids," Marion said. 

"You don't think it's a big impact but it really is on a child," Williams. "Just being there listening cause that's all a child needs is just to listen. be that shoulder."

The club accepts applications for its mentor program year round. You can find information HERE.

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