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Mentoring program helps under-privileged children

Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 21:12

For many younger kids in under-privileged and poor financial circumstances in this region, the thought of one day going to college was a mere dream. It was a level of prestige reached by those with more accessible resources and ambitions.

All that began to change with a simple phone call in 1994 from a volunteer at Unaka Avenue Baptist Church. The Boys to Men program was created as an initiative to mentor young boys to become successful young men.

In the time since, the Rise Up program has managed to purchase a facility in Johnson City called “The Refuge,” as well as to expand the program to include girls. They also have expanded their mentoring operations to cover subjects such as abstinence and college preparation.

East Tennessee State University students have the opportunity to make a difference in one of these kids’ lives by becoming a mentor. A student would have the opportunity to be a positive role model and a friend to a child looking for a way to succeed in today’s society.

Among the things that an ETSU student would be privileged to do as a mentor include building a consistent relationship with a young person, encouraging them to make good decisions and helping them set and reach goals to boost their confidence to new heights.

ETSU students also have the opportunity to learn about the youth’s family and cultural dynamics — a valuable piece of knowledge leading into any future career.

The experience wouldn’t just be beneficial to the young person either.

By becoming a mentor, students will have the opportunity to grow and strengthen their own leadership abilities, not to mention the feeling of personal satisfaction in seeing the young person achieve greatness.

So what does it take to be a mentor?
It demands at least a one-year commitment. This is very crucial. Studies suggest that it is better for a child to have never received a mentor than for a mentor to not fulfill their requirements.

Other qualifications include a mandatory criminal background check and a two-hour training session.

The complete list of requirements, as well as the application for becoming a mentor can be found  at


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