United Way of Greater Lafayette
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Volunteer Needs Column

August 12, 2011


The Role of Mentors in Schools 

Mentor with child

Mentoring is an extraordinary commitment that can yield extraordinary results. Working with a single student or a small group, a mentor acts as a guide to the larger world outside of school and home, serves as a role model, helps students make positive life choices, listens to concerns, supports interests, and opens children's eyes to new possibilities. Mentors dedicate time to helping students academically, socially, mentally, and physically, as necessary. Their roles include:

  • A long-term commitment to the program.
  • Helping students develop personal interests outside of school.
  • Helping students become involved in all aspects of school.
  • Being sincere, committed, and punctual for scheduled meetings.
  • Developing a level of trust with the student. A trusting relationship is the foundation for successful work.
  • Being a positive role model.
  • Listening effectively. Sometimes, the mentor is the only person that the student has identified as one who will listen to his/her concerns and problems.
  • Helping the mentee set short and long-term goals.

Help students to help themselves

There is a big difference between offering solutions and helping a student discover his/her own options. Helping students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills will put them on the road toward independence, and the realization that they can direct the course of their lives.


Help students with their problems

A mentor is there to assist with problems such as issues with: self-confidence, interpersonal conflicts, school attendance, or goal setting.

This doesn't mean that the volunteer plays the role of counselor, social worker, or parent. Volunteers are there to offer support, encouragement, and to give positive reinforcement. By listening and asking open-ended questions, a mentor can gently guide the student toward finding his/her own solution. As with all volunteers, a mentor must consult a teacher, administrator, or school counselor if it seems that a student needs additional help.


Help students build self-confidence

Students may feel enormous pressure from home, school, or peer relations, and lack the self knowledge and confidence necessary to navigate challenging situations. By showing care for and belief in a student, a mentor can encourage a student to raise his/her expectations and make positive decisions.


Statements such as these can help build self-esteem:

  • I like how you handled that!
  • I see that you are making a real effort or trying very hard.
  • I know you can do this!
  • What are your thoughts or ideas about this?

Help students develop interpersonal skills

Even students who communicate well with peers may not know how to interact appropriately with adults. Mentors should model appropriate communication and behavioral skills. A volunteer can teach little things such as looking someone in the eyes when speaking to them, speaking clearly, practicing good manners, and addressing adults politely. Remember, students will learn by watching and interacting positively with role models.


If you would like to become a mentor at Miller Elementary in the upcoming school year, please read more about the Read to Succeed program and sign up to be a positive role model in a child's life here.  



Information provided by HandsOn Network  


What's New This Week?   


Extreme Shopper Needed

Lafayette Transitional Housing are in need of a volunteer to shop one day a week at the Food Finders Food Bank to stock their Food Pantry. You would be responsible to man the food pantry one shift as well. If interested please email Christina or call 765-423-4880


Help Feed a Hungry Family

Bauer Family Resources is looking for a volunteer to assist families in receiving food assistance at their food panty. Would be responsible for completing intake paperwork and determining eligibility. This position would be on Thursdays from 12 - 2:30pm.  If this is right for you, please email Cassie or call her at 765-742-5046. Great opportunity to give back to the community!

If interested in learning about more volunteer opportunities, contact Amy at the United Way Volunteer Center or visit:


WOC 2010 Zoo

2004 ScottRobinsonPhoto.com

The Word for Today is


Read to Succeed Logo

You Can Help
a student succeed at a local elementary school by volunteering one hour a week. Your time and compassion can make a difference in a child's education.

United Way of Greater Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Tippecanoe School Corporation, Lafayette School Corporation and West Lafayette School Corporation announced a new opportunity to volunteer/mentor at five of our local elementary schools. See Journal & Courier article here.

Sign up and Give one hour a week to make a difference!

If you would like more information or would like to become a Read to Succeed Volunteer go to the Website here

Be the change you want to see in the world.

~ Gandhi

Learn more about the United Way

Do you want to find out more about what the United Way of Greater Lafayette is all about? Visit the website


Please forward this Volunteer Column.
You can LIVE UNITED by helping us spread the word. Imagine how many people we could reach if everyone forwards this to five people.

Week of Caring 2011
September 12-18


United Way of Greater Lafayette had their annual Match Party, this week and over 40 volunteer opportunities were taken by 23 of our local Businesses.


We still have several opportunities available so if your company or organization have not signed up to join the effort, contact Amy at the Volunteer Center for a list of opportunities!


Let's support our local and surrounding non-profit organizations by giving back to them for all the hard work they do! 



Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.  


~ Lady Bird Johnson  

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*On-Going Volunteer Needs*


Volunteer Callout  

YWCA is having a volunteer callout on Wednesday, August 31st at 6:00pm. This will highlight volunteer needs for each YWCA Department: Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, Women's Cancer Program, and Youth Programming along with various special events. If you cannot attend the callout, email Ericka or call 765-423-7029.


Dog Walking Fun

Almost Home Humane Society is looking for volunteers to help with its Tails-N-Trails 5, 15K and Dog Walk on Saturday, September 10th at the Tippecanoe Amphitheater. Volunteers may be individuals or small groups and should be available from 7 am - noon. Anyone interested email Stacy or call 765-474-5222 ext. 301.

Free T-shirts!  

Uptown Jazz and Blues Festival is August 27th and volunteers are needed to work later shifts at Admission Gates and Ticket Booths. Volunteers are also needed to assist with set up and tear down. All volunteers receive free admission and an Uptown Jazz & Blues t-shirt! Sign up online at www.GreaterLafayetteCommerce.com     

Christmas is just around the corner!

Bauer Family Resources are looking for a Christmas Day Dinner Volunteer Coordinator for the annual Christmas Day Dinner in Lafayette. This dinner provides a meal to 3,000+ people each year and provides toys to the 500+ children in attendance. The Volunteer Coordinator will need to attend committee meetings beginning in September and monthly after that.This event is a tradition in our Lafayette community....please consider participating in a way that will impact so many lives! To volunteer, contact Lauren  or call 742-4848.


Night Owls Needed

Lafayette Urban Ministry Homeless Shelter are seeking volunteers to spend the night. Volunteers take turns staying awake but are able to get 6 hours of sleep in the volunteer room. Hours needed: 8:30pm - 7am. Please visit website for training dates: www.lafayetteurbanministry.org   


Traveling Librarian

Tippecanoe County Public Library are seeking Library Link Volunteers. You will be paired with a home bound patron where you deliver and pick up books for them. Must be at least 18 years olf with a valid drivers license. Fore more information or to sign up, contact Sherri or call 765-474-5222 ext. 301.


Be a Light in Someone's Life

Serenity Hospice are in need of volunteers to visit with patients. You can be the light in someone's life for their remaining days or visit with the nursing home residents to help pass the time in their day. Training is provided. If interested, email Linda or call her at 446-9100.


Book Cycle Seeks Volunteers 

This is your change to assist pre-school children in selecting and exchanging books at Head Start and the Tippecanoe County Childcare Centers. Volunteers must be able to commit to ONE time slot each week for approximately 2 hours. (Thursday is 9-11AM or 1:30-3:30PM and Friday is 9-10:30AM) Please contact Colleen Reader or call 765-567-4088 for more information.  

Delivery Service Needed!  

Meals on Wheels is in need of people who are willing to donate a couple hours of their time either on a weekly or fill-in basis. You will need your own car to deliver meals to elderly and disabled recipients of the program. To volunteer contact  Nichole


Clothes, Clothes Everywhere!

Trinity Mission Outlet Store are looking for volunteers to help sort through clothes that they have at the store. They would like 20 or so volunteers to help for 4 - 5 hours. If interested contact Todd at 765-742-1060.  


Have a couple hours to give?

Caregivers Companions needs volunteers to visit, drive and help the elderly or ill in Tippecanoe County. If you would enjoy helping someone with transportation, errands, light housework, laundry, etc. we have quite a few situations in the area for you to choose from. Volunteers can give as many or as few hours as your schedule will allow.