Mentor Denton off to great start

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The folks behind a new mentoring program for Denton students who are at risk of not completing high school have ambitious goals — including eventually finding mentors for all of the young people who need support — and considering their success so far, nothing may be impossible.

Mentor Denton — a new initiative between city, school and university leaders — launched a dedicated website, Facebook page and Twitter account in mid-August with an initial goal of inspiring 1,000 Denton residents, including university students, to give an hour a week mentoring one student for a year.

The push for 1,000 volunteers grew out of several discussions to increase community engagement, Denton City Council member Kevin Roden said, and by the end of the second week of the drive, Mentor Denton had already recruited about 650 people.

While the volunteers will be trained and matched through the Communities in Schools program, Roden said there have been discussions about how to build a broader volunteer base that can be tapped by other community programs.

Roden said he’s buoyed by the response just from the online campaign, since the groups haven’t begun some of the outreach they have planned for Mentor Denton.

We can understand his enthusiasm. It’s an impressive start to a program that promises to be a valuable addition to the community’s arsenal of support programs for young people. Mentoring programs help students, even those who aren’t at risk, to talk to people about their career interests and college plans.

Many of us know from personal experience just how valuable such programs can be because there was someone in our past who stepped up when we needed support and made a difference in our lives.

We applaud those who have volunteered for the new mentoring program, and we encourage others to consider doing so.

Someone who cares enough to listen is often all that’s needed to keep a teenager in school, and an hour a week is a small commitment to make when you consider the possible consequences of not getting involved.

The Denton district considers 10,000 of its students at risk of not completing high school, and we can’t afford to let any of those students slip through the cracks.

Area residents who would like to volunteer or learn more about the new mentoring program should visit

As we said, the folks behind the new mentoring program have ambitious goals — including eventually finding mentors for all of the young people in need, and when you consider the number at risk, it seems like a daunting task.

But nothing is impossible for a caring community, and we are confident that more volunteers will step forward as needed.

Why not be one of them?

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