Mentoring program begins this semester

Striving Toward a Noble Destiny, or S.T.A.N.D., is a male mentoring program debuting this semester to help guide middle school boys.

The program, which is associated with the Murray State Women’s Center, was inspired by G.R.O.W., a girls mentoring program that is also associated with the center.

“After 10 years of the successful G.R.O.W. program at the Murray State Women’s Center, Jane Etheridge, former director of the Women’s Center, in the fall of last year started to think of how she could help the same middle schools with the exception of helping boys rather than girls,” said Chris Mahan, sophomore from Murray.

Mahan is a coordinator for S.T.A.N.D. He and the Women’s Center have been working on this program since last year.

“We advertised an informative meeting for any students interested at the end of last semester and did not have a big turnout,” Mickey Garrison, guidance counselor at Calloway County Schools said.

Garrison said the mentors will act as big brothers to the middle school boys.

S.T.A.N.D. is designed to assist with the personal, social and academic needs of the boys within the program.

The bigs and littles of S.T.A.N.D. will meet weekly. They will participate in activities to get to know an work with each other better.

“The events for the boys will focus on positive outdoor activities. We’ve discussed rock climbing, hiking, various sports, fishing, etc.,” Garrison said.

According to Mahan, S.T.A.N.D. aims to provide middle school boys with positive role models, develop good decision making skills, build confidence and promote teamwork among participants and to teach healthy gender relationships.

“We match man to young man on a one to one ratio,” Mahan said. “This is what separates us from boys to men and other similar organizations. We feel that the young men will gain something with one to one bonding.”

S.T.A.N.D. will provide students with a leadership opportunity on campus.

To be considered for a mentoring position, students must be younger than 25, have and keep a 2.5 GPA and be of at least sophomore status. There is no fee to be a part of the program. Students that are in the undergraduate program as well as the graduate program can participate.

Ten to twelve people will be selected to start the training program.

Story by Becca Schimmel, Contributing writer.