QPS mentor program pairs adults with students

One-on-one interaction outside of the classroom--that's the idea behind the Quincy Public School District's mentor program.

It pairs caring adults with students who need that extra one-on-one interaction outside of the classroom.

KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with one mentor/mentee duo about how they benefit from the program.

Fred Nothold spends about an hour and a half per week working with three students in the Quincy Public School system.

"It's very rewarding," he said. "They really appreciate it. It's helpful for them, and it's also helpful for me. They're very impressionable at this age. They need to learn. They need to grow and not just grow with school work."

The mentor program started about 18 years old and has grown to just under 200 mentors.

"The mentor program started as really a way to provide some one-on-one attention for students who can benefit from it," Mentor coordinator Jackie Schlipmann said. "Academic support as well as supporting them in some of the decisions they make."

An increase in economic and other societal problems has contributed to an increase in the need for mentors.

"We have a number of families facing many challenges," Nothold said. "There are a number of situations where the child needs a little extra one-on-one especially in school. It just means a lot to them to have that person from the community coming in and enforcing what the teachers are telling them."

The pair can work on homework, reading, puzzles or even tips that could benefit the student in the classroom.

What have you learned from Mr. Nothold?

"If I sit up more, I'll get more focus on a paper," mentee Jacob said.

"You don't need any special expertise," Schlipmann said. "You don't need to be a math whiz. You don't need to have all the answers. You just need the willingness to establish a relationship with a child. If you're interested in children and enjoy time with them, you're a great candidate."

And Nothold wishes he could've started mentoring sooner.

"As money problems arise with the school systems all across the country, class sizes become larger, and there are a lot of children who maybe fall through the cracks if they don't get that extra help," Nothold said. "The mentoring program fills that need."

If you're interested in learning more about the mentor program, just call the Quincy Public Schools board office at 217-228-7158 or by clicking here .