Eagle Grove Lead and Learn mentoring program brings children and adults together for increased school and social success

Mentors do all sorts of things with their partners like play games, read books, do homework, go to sporting events and more. Pictured above, the mentors played a dice game with the kids that, depending on what number they rolled, had them talking about things they were thankful for...appropriate since Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away. Photo by Kim Demory

If you could make a difference in a child’s life in only 90 minutes a month, would you do it? That’s exactly what the Lead and Learn program at Eagle Grove Elementary is accomplishing...one student, and one volunteer at a time.

In its fourth year of existence, this mentoring program was begun by Alana Alt, elementary Title 1 and ELL teacher, and mother of three. Her goal...to simply reach out and make an impact on students’ lives who she and the school guidance counselor, Carrie Niehaus, thought would benefit most from it. The goal is to offer the students an opportunity for more school success...to feel a connection outside the family...to have an extra role model...to build lasting friendships.

“Knowing how my own kids are fortunate to have extra love from grandparents and other adults around them...I just thought ‘Let’s get these kids that don’t have that opportunity some time with other adults (outside their family) who would enjoy doing things with them,’” said Alt. “It’s kind of that ‘It takes a village’ motto.”

Alt knows first-hand what a difference an influential adult can make in a child’s life since she herself volunteered with the Big Brother/Big Sister program when she was in college. Since coming back to Eagle Grove, she had always wanted to bring that type of mentoring to this community.

“We have such diversity here...I just thought our community could really benefit from such a program,” Alt said of the Lead and Learn mentoring.

Her dream came true when she applied for, and received, a grant from the Wright County Charitable Foundation in 2016. She has received one each year since to help fund background checks on adult volunteers as well as purchase occasional supplies for projects or special treats.

For the full story, see this week's Eagle Grove Eagle. Subscribe by calling 1-800-558-1244 ext 122 or email Deb at circulation@midamericapub.com or by clicking here.