Up the mountain

Rev. Everett Mills turned a vision into a mission 28 years ago with the founding of the not-for-profit organization Mountain Mentors. Since its start, it has helped countless at-risk teens conquer difficulties and "hike" toward the highlands of good choices, empowerment, and self-esteem with the help of "one-on-one, lasting relationships between adult volunteer mentors and teens." One might think the name “Mountain Mentors” is a bit of a stretch in the flatlands of Toledo, but the group’s name reflects the end of the year hiking challenge
in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and a Great Ohio Bike Adventure (GOBA) that mentors and teens tackle along with other team building activities.

Patti Travis, mentor and board member of Mountain Mentors, recalls the many teens that have shared with her how the program has taken them to new heights. “One young man told me that he attributes being the man he is today to the program," she says. "Another young woman told me she was shocked to discover that adults actually liked her. She had never
had a positive relationship with a grown-up before being in Mountain Mentors. She graduated from high school and recently received an
associate’s degree.”  

Teens are referred by Toledo Public School teachers, campus protection police, and parents. One of the most important aspects of the program is the monthly one-on-one mentoring sessions the teens experience with one of the 15 mentors — the group is always looking for caring, committed adults to volunteer.

Mentoring is a year-long commitment, and entails one Saturday morning and one Wednesday evening a month, as well as a week-long hike or bike ride during the summer. "Once kids have climbed a mountain," Travis says, "they realize there is nothing they can't accomplish."
Prospective mentors should call 419-481-3606 or trek over to www.ToledoMountainMentors.org. —MHD


Learning to care

Teens and tweens can learn some valuable life skills — and a way to make a few extra dollars on the side — as the American Red Cross presents its regular Babysitter’s Training classes at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Basic to intermediate childcare skills are taught in two three hour sessions, including video, discussion and hands-on activities. From the fundamentals like diapering and feeding, to communication and crisis management skills, kids will learn the facts that will give them the confidence to be a good babysitter.

August 1-2, Holland Branch; 8-9 at Sanger Branch; and 15-16 at Sylvania Branch. $85, registration required.  800-733-2767. www.redcrosstoledo.org.   —MD