ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR)
A group of African-American men is investing hundreds of hours a month to mentor dozens of young black male students in Albemarle County. The school system is also developing new partnerships to create more mentoring programs countywide.
Members of the 100 Black Men of central Virginia work one-on-one to mentor about 80 middle school boys in Albemarle County schools. Some of those mentors joined their students for lunch at Burley Middle School Wednesday afternoon to catch up on schoolwork and home life.
Each mentor commits to spending at least 10 hours a month with the boys they're helping to become responsible young men.
“Because of the nature of what we do and the outcome we expect it to bring, you can't trivialize the time you spend with the young people,” said Xavier Jackson, a mentor.
The Albemarle County school system tracks the success of these programs, and says mentors improve students' attendance, grades, and goals for the future.
“It's all about giving quality time with a group of students on a regular basis. But you're also tracking the performance and impact of your mentoring time you're giving to the young people,” said Bernard Hairston, executive director of community engagement for Albemarle County Public Schools.
This is just one of the mentor programs in Albemarle County schools. The school system's goal this year is to form partnerships with volunteer groups and respected members of the community to create more mentorship programs.