Henrico Public Schools searching for volunteers to mentor students

Henrico Public Schools are looking for volunteers to mentor students who have faced social and emotional drawbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico Public Schools are calling on all heroes to help change a child’s life.

The school division is searching for volunteers to mentor second through twelfth-grade students.

“We all deserve a caring individual who we can process life with,” Henrico Public Schools K-12 Intervention Specialist Leslie Velez said.

She says the Henrico Heroes program has been around for over a decade, but the need for volunteers and mentorship is more significant than ever due to the pandemic.

From October to May, volunteers dedicate 40 minutes weekly to building personal connections with students.

Velez says the goal is to decrease youth violence, which she says continues to climb.

“I think it’s a result of individuals not having the tools, and if they can be paired with an adult to learn different coping skills and how to manage life and process it, then they’re in a better situation,” Velez said.

Velez says there’s a slight problem. They’re having trouble recruiting enough volunteers.

Velez says they’re serving more students than years prior. Right now, Velez says 500 students need a mentor.

Currently, they have 70 volunteers. They’re looking for 200 total.

“We’ve been through this pandemic, and there’s been quite a bit of time spent away from individuals. And that lockdown, it really took a toll on them,” Velez said.

Velez says volunteers must pass a background check and commit to a two-hour training.

She says they’re accepting applications until the program starts in October.

“If you have just a few minutes a week and have the desire to change the trajectory of a life of a child, then please reach out,” Velez said.

Click here for more information on the program and how to apply.

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