S.A.S. Volunteers & Mentors Needed

Pine Island fourth and fifth grade students are being offered the S.A.S mentoring program again this year. Members of the after-school program, SAS, are currently seeking volunteers, mentors for the upcoming school year. Recognizing the success of its first year, Students Achieving Success committee has realized the need to expand and offer the program to even more students in the 2010 – 2011 school year.

Within the first year the program was offered to 10 Pine Island Elementary School students, thanks to Beacon of HOPE for providing the space and the hard work and generosity of all the volunteering mentors. This year the program will be adding additional space in Bokeelia, located at the Bokeelia Fire Station on Stringfellow Road. With this additional space they hope to offer the program to an additional 40 students, which means they will require additional mentors.

The programs will be split during a 5-day school week. Five students will attend the program on Monday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m and another five on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. This schedule is for the Beacon of Hope location on Pine Island Road.

The Bokeelia S.A.S. schedule will be offered on the same days and times with 20 students per session. Last year’s SAS program had 14 volunteers who made a commitment of two day a week, this year’s program will require a lot more mentors. The goal of our program is to not have more than two students for every mentor. This assigned mentor will work with the same students each week, that way they can develope an understanding and good working relationship.

The S.A.S. program is not a tutoring program, but more of an enrichment program, students are recommended by teachers from Pine Island Elementary School. They pick children whom they feel would benefit from the exposure to programs they would not normally find in the formal classroom environment.

The S.A.S. program is also looking for those special volunteers, who can come in once or twice a week and offer the students special programs, such as music, art, sports, etc.  The S.A.S. program was set up to help improve motivation, enhance the student’s performance and to build self-confidance.

Dr. Jim Cole an island resident found the number of student dropouts in the state of Florida very alarming.  This program worked extremely well in other country and he felt that the program would benefit some of the students at Pine Island Elementary.

The S.A.S. Mentor Program, “Students Achieving Success” is designed to prepare island students to face the challenges that lay ahead of them. It is well known that strong social skills help improve the odds that a student will remain in school and graduation. It is well known that with the outstanding, caring residents of Pine Island and the support and help of the community, the S.A.S. mentor program will help to provide the elements needed to support students who need help to succeed.”

If all goes well and the program gets the volunteers and mentors needed to run this program the tentative start date for this year’s SAS program will be Sept. 15th. Come out and meet the members of the S.A.S. committee on Aug. 19th, at the Pine Island Elementary School Open House. They will be able to answer questions from parents as well as potential volunteers and mentors.

Prior educational experience is not necessary to volunteers; however, all applicants will be subject to state and federal background checks. For more information about becoming an S.A.S. volunteer or mentor, call Elsie Stearns at 283-1480 or Carlyn Herring at 282-5610.