Volunteers sought to mentor school kids

By SUSAN ANDRUS/Montana State News

Each school year the Child Advancement Project (CAP) tries to match 550 volunteer mentors with Bozeman children, and they are just 40 nurturing and kind-hearted volunteers shy of their goal this year, according to CAP coordinator Robin Kelley.

CAP was started in 1989 and enlists community volunteers to provide a little extra scholastic support for Bozeman kids grades K-12. The volunteer mentors meet with the children in their schools for an hour a week; about 40 per cent of those mentors are MSU students.

Why might an MSU student choose to squeeze another hour out of their schedule each week?

“First of all,” says Kelley, “it looks great on a resume.” But she adds that MSU students have often shared that, even with their hectic schedules they, “walk away feeling like they’ve done something special with their week.”

There are no specific qualifications for being a CAP mentor, but an FBI background check and two references are required. Education majors, who must have a background check as part of their program, will not need to submit to another check, because the education department shares that information with CAP.

Kelley said anyone can volunteer to mentor a child. “Each personality of each mentor is different and each personality of each student is different.” she says. New mentors will meet with a coordinator for a half hour interview that will help the coordinator match that mentor to a child.

CAP mentors are asked to commit to at least a full school year and it is preferred that mentors starting during spring semester commit to the end of the following school year. Mentors, however, are not required to meet with students during summer or any other MSU breaks.

More information and an online registration form can be found at http://www.allthrive.org/programs/child-advancement-project-cap/ or by calling (406) 585-7929. 

Edited by Trudi Fisher

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