You can make a difference!
Connect with youth

Pictured are Rev. Dan May, left, with Rev. Frank Goodpaster, right, holding a check for $5000 as they deposited it in the new account for Youth Connect at The Friendship State Bank. The money was awarded to Youth Connect by the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, through its Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention center.

Wanda English Burnett

A sequence of numbers such as today’s date, 1/11/11, is being used to highlight the success formula for mentoring: one adult, mentoring one child, for at least one hour, at least once a week for at least one school year.

As National Mentoring Month celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, some Ripley County people have been working hard to get on board.

A group of local churches and individuals from the faith community, who have come together to promote mentoring and building developmental assets for Ripley County youth, are now calling themselves Youth Connect, according to Paula Goodpaster, who along with her husband, Frank, are instrumental in getting the group in motion.

Youth Connect was born out of love for the next generation. Their new brochure notes it is “connecting our youth, adults and community.” That is the goal of the group. To build a bridge between the young people to the community through training, supporting and engaging mentors.

Board members for Youth Connect include Nancy Redelman, Solid Rock Bible Fellowship; Rev. Karyl Leslie, St. Peter United Church of Christ; Rev. James Culver, St. Paul Lutheran Church; Rev. Karen Reynolds and husband, Dave, Rev. Roger Dean, Church on the Rock: Frank and Paula Goodpaster, The Upper Room Fellowship; Dan May, Church On The Rock; and Rev. John Halford, Grace Fellowship International.

These people have done the leg work, spending hundreds of hours in training and research to launch Youth Connect.

They agree with the 1/11/11 concept, saying it just takes a short amount of time to connect. You can find out more about how to become a local mentor by stopping by your local library in the month of January. Specific times are: tonight, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Batesville Library; Saturday, January 15 at 12:30 p.m. at the Tyson Library in Versailles; Tuesday, January 25 Osgood Public Library at 1:30 and at the Milan branch of the Osgood Public Library at 4:00 p.m. that same day.

Through the workshops, training, and seminars, the Youth Connect group found that Ripley County youth are no different than others, they need mentors. They found that young people who are involved in relationships with adult mentors are less likely to use drugs, less likely to abuse alcohol, and less likely to be involved in violence.

They also found that youth who are connected, have increased literary skills, attend school on a more regular basis and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.

Youth Connect has the firm belief that the faith community is the place to start with effective mentoring. Pastor Dan May says he has seen youth who were committed to attend and serve their churches after graduating from high school are the ones who had connected with an adult in that congregation. The valuable asset of having a mentor could shape the future for some children.

Right now there are youth in Ripley County who are waiting to be mentored. There are a number of youth at risk, many from single parent homes and many who live in poverty. Sometimes parents just need someone to come alongside them, and be an extra shoulder for the children to lean on. You could be that person.

If you can’t attend one of the information sessions at the above mentioned libraries, you can contact 812-934-5192 or go online at:

The first Basic Mentoring Workshop is set for January 29 at noon at the Batesville Church on the Rock.