The BJ’s Charitable Foundation recently donated $5,000 to Mentor Me North Georgia, a non-profit organization that serves local children through mentoring relationships and other programs to help children reach their potential. The donation was designated for Mentor Me’s REACH program, “Raising Expectations and Achievement of our Children,” a mentoring program for Hispanic children. Mentors assist the children with their homework during the school year. During the summer, camps are provided to help them keep up with their reading and language skills.
“The BJ’s Charitable Foundation grants funds quarterly to organizations where BJ’s clubs are located,” explained Matt Goggins, general manager of the Cumming BJ’s club. “We choose organizations that provide critical services and programs that focus on hunger prevention, self-sufficiency, healthcare, and education. Mentor Me’s REACH program supports education in the local community, and we are pleased to select it as one of our non-profit grant recipients this quarter,” Goggins said.
Emily Breisch, a senior at Lambert High School, is an after-school volunteer in the REACH program. “It’s important to give back,” she said. “And, I enjoy working with children and helping them with their homework and reading skills. And it’s a learning experience for me.” She works with Aaliyah, a first grader. Next year, Emily will attend the University of Georgia, majoring in communication.
Ethan Smith also volunteers with REACH. He is a senior at Forsyth Central High School. “I began volunteering after a friend told me how much he enjoyed it,” he said. “I feel like I’m making a contribution by helping children. It’s like having a little brother, and it’s gratifying seeing him do well in school.” Ethan works with David, who is in second grade. Ethan has been accepted at Georgia Tech and the University of California and is in the process of making his selection.
Mentor Me also provides traditional one-on-one mentoring relationships between adult volunteers and children and young people. Children between the ages of six and 17 who need and want a mentor are matched with adults who can serve as role models.
Another site-base mentoring program features “Kick it Up” clubs at middle schools and high schools. Students come together to participate in structured activities, explore career paths, and are active in service learning projects. Members of the community become involved with the students, sharing personal and professional experience.
Matt Goggins (right) presented a check in the amount of $5,000 to Mentor Me executive director Sylvia Cardona and 2012 board chairman Virgilio Perez Pascoe to support the organization’s REACH program.