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Wanted: A few good mentors in Federal Way schools

Communities in Schools of Federal Way is currently recruiting mentors for the upcoming school year.

The PASS Mentoring program, which has just finished its third year, serves more than 60 students in the Federal Way School District.

CIS executive director Tracy Oster said that of the 60 students they mentor, 79 percent of them had improved attendance following being assigned a mentor — and 95 percent successfully moved on to the next grade level. Parents were also surveyed at the end of the year to find out how they thought mentors had helped their children, Oster said. Of those parents, 63 percent said their kids had better attitudes, 67 percent said they thought their kids felt better about themselves, and 88 percent felt their kids had a more positive attitude about their future.

When it started, the program only had 10 mentors. However, that number has grown to 60.

Almost 1,000 hours were given to mentoring during the past school year in the district through the PASS program.

"What makes a good mentor is someone who cares," Oster said. "The main thing we stress is that they listen."

This year, PASS is hoping to expand by an additional 60 new mentors — and expand to more schools.

"This is the time of year we want to build up," Oster said. "We've got 25 scheduled for training before school starts. We're going to keep pushing."

Mentors only need to give an hour, one day a week in a Federal Way school. That hour must be given during school hours on the campus.

Mentors need to fill out a background check, must be over 18 and undergo a training session. There are currently two training sessions upcoming: One on Aug. 26 and the second on Sept. 9. Mentors must have the paperwork finished before the training session to participate.

For more information, call Tracy Oster at (253) 528-0847 or e-mail tracyo@federalwaychamber.com

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