Mentors Matter

Mentors Matter
Posted on 09/16/2020

Partners in Education often serve as mentors for school system students. Many of these mentors reflect on their own school days and remember someone they looked up to and who served as a role model. Now, as adults, they have the chance to give back by being positive role models for the younger generation.

The Partners in Education (PIE) program helps identify caring adults who are interested in serving as mentors and connects them with Communities in Schools (CIS), a school-based organization that empowers at-risk students to succeed inside and outside the classroom and to stay in school through graduation. CIS screens, trains and matches mentors with mentees.

Ashley Kinnard, manager of PR & Communications at GreyStone Power Corporation, first met her mentee, Conner, when he was in 1st grade, and he’s now in 8th grade. “I find it so personally rewarding to be a mentor,” says Kinnard. She visits with Conner at school weekly during the school year and goes above and beyond by attending some of his school-related events that occur after regular school hours. “I encourage everyone that I can to become a mentor and make an impact in a child’s life.”

Mentors spend an hour per week with mentees at the school doing age-appropriate activities that include reading, tutoring, educational activities, discussing job opportunities or researching colleges. Often, mentors simply listen if a mentee wants to talk. Mentoring helps each mentee feel supported in life and school. Mentees know someone is coming to their school to see them! Current mentors - including Kinnard - frequently say they get more out of the mentoring relationship than their mentee!

Mentors are not able to enter schools right now because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the mentor-mentee relationships will soon continue through virtual visits.

New mentors are needed for students of all ages. While new mentors will not be able to meet with mentees until after pandemic safety precautions are lifted, interested adults are encouraged to apply and receive training provided by CIS so they are ready to mentor as soon as possible. For more information about becoming a mentor, contact Mitzi Teal, executive director of CIS, at

Click here to hear Ashley Kinnard talk about being a mentor. She’s a familiar face and a positive role model for her mentee. She says she loves being a cheerleader for her mentee!

Kinnard has mentored Conner for eight years and has enjoyed watching him grow up. She’s quick to point out that Conner isn’t the only one benefiting from the mentor-mentee relationship. She says the relationship is personally rewarding, and she sometimes thinks she gets more from it than Conner!

Ashley and Conner

picture of ashley and conner

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