Although the holiday season has come to an end, People Attempting To Help, or PATH, still has many opportunities for the people of Smith County to get involved and help the community.
One of the special programs PATH offers is the Bev’s Kid Reach mentoring program. This mentoring program matches children who come from an array of different household situations with caring mentors, in an attempt to prevent future substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, school dropouts and to provide guidance.
“We do trust that God is going to bring the kids that need a mentor here in Tyler,” said Mark Richardson coordinator of the mentoring program.
Bev’s Kid Reach mentoring program was named after the late Beverly Ann Beaird, a woman with a passion for helping kids. After her death, her parents Rosemary and Herald Beaird made a donation from Beverly’s estate to PATH in her honor, thus the mentoring program incorporated her name into their title.
“Bev had a huge heart for kids, she just loved them,” said Richardson.
To enter into the program there is an extensive application and interview process. The program requires at least a 12-month commitment, and at least four hours a month spent with a matched mentee. PATH also carefully screens each volunteer by doing an extensive background check. The age group of the mentees ranges from 6 to 17 years old and the age of mentors ranges from 18 to 70 years old.
According to Mark Richardson the mentors and mentees are matched by a series of surveys and interviews.
Some matches have been successful and others have not. One match that has succeeded is that of mentor 22-year-old Alex Easterling and her mentee Candace.
Easterling has worked with youth before but she enjoys the personal one-on-one time she gets to spend with Candace.
“I’ve worked for boys and girls club for many years, and I enjoyed it, but I wanted something more personable. Something I could pour into an individual,” said Easterling.
Easterling has been mentoring Candace for the past year and a half, and has evidently found great joy in being the role model in Candace’s life. Not only has she made an impact in Candace’s life, but in mentoring her life has been changed as well. She said that she has learned how to better manage different aspects of her life.
“Time management is key. I do a lot but candy is a part of my life, so I have to put things down sometimes to spend time with her,” Easterling said.
Being a mentor is not taking on the role of a parent, but being a guide and a friend.
“When you are mentor you are the big friend that knows everything, that guides your mentee through the year,” said Richardson.
That friendship role is exactly what new mentor Clint Craycraft is looking forward to fulfilling with mentee Demarius.
“I think we are going to have fun, I just want to learn about him and hopefully he can teach me some things,” said Craycraft.
Currently there are 23 active mentor/ mentee matches in the Bev’s Kid Reach program. There are two young men on the waiting list for a mentor and one female mentor on the waiting list for a mentee, but there is always a need for mentors, especially young male mentors.
“I currently have two boys on the waiting list, I need male mentors, and I need good men. Young active and full of energy,” said Richardson.
Any person interested in becoming a Mentor through the Bev’s Kid Reach program should go to PATH.com or call Mark Richardson at 903-597-7284.