By Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa., has had a mentoring program for decades—26 years, in fact. Janie Myers reports that it continues as a vigorous way to connect the youth and adults of the church.
“We used to say the youth are the future of the church, and now we realize that the youth are the church,” Myers said. “I have a soft spot for teenagers. The world we created for them, gosh what have we done to them? . . . With a mentor they have someone who cares for them and prays for them.”
She helped start the program with encouragement from then-pastor David Witkovsky.
The program starts with middle schoolers in sixth grade, inviting them to identify an adult they would like to have as mentor. Myers contacts the adults, in conversation with the families of the youth. Each mentor can have only one mentee at a time. The commitment is for one year, renewable annually as long as the youth wishes to remain in the program or until they complete high school. Most continue for the full seven years, Myers said.
Each team makes some kind of contact once a month—if only to say hello before church or sit together in worship. The program offers suggestions of appropriate activities and offers events that the whole group of mentors and mentees enjoy doing together such a hike or a baseball game. Often mentors support the youth by attending their school plays, recitals, and sports events.
In total, about 300 youth have gone through the Roaring Spring mentoring program, with about 30 teams currently taking part.
This article was taken from the April 2022 issue of Messenger magazine. Subscribe to Messenger.