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Mentoring at the Boys and Girls Club

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EUGENE, Ore. — It’s a beautiful summer day–perfect for some bobble ball.

Scott Carney just found out he’s been matched with 10-year-old Damien Gilstrap-Russell. He’ll be mentoring him on school and family issues, coupled with some fun.

“I wanted to get involved with mentoring because there are a lot of kids here, but some of the kids need one on one,” Carney said.

“It is important to have a mentor because if you are having a stressful breakout, you can just talk to them about what your feelings are. If your feelings are hurt, if something sad happened,” Gilstrap-Russell said.

Sports of all kinds are a big hit at the Boys and Girls Club, but it seems its advice on some hard issues are what these mentees really need.

“I do have some kids in my class who are kind of bullies,” Gilstrap-Russell said.

“It is very important to listen to children these days because they have a lot to say and it is very important that we are there mentors,” Carney said.

Someone who has a lot to say–11-year-old Mark Whitley. But he says his experience at the Boys and Girls Club isn’t complete. He needs a mentor.

“I would talk to them about how my grades are and how school is, and I would also like to talk with them about my problems,” Whitley said.

Whitley wants to be a graphic designer or a Lego builder, but to get there he needs some advice on how to get him through these hard teen years.

“Some of my other friends are going through puberty stuff like that,” Whitley said.

There are still more than two dozen kids on the waiting list for mentors. You will be put through a background check, but other than that it’s just a little time and wisdom the club is seeking, and who know you may get some wisdom headed your own way.

“I love it when I am at school or doing homework, I am very stressed out. I come here and it just lightens me,” Carney said.

And sometimes it would seem the simplest of activities, like spending time on a swing, can produce moments that forever make a difference.

For more information on how you can become Mark’s mentor, click here.

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