Youth mentoring program kicks off in Truckee | SierraSun.com

Youth mentoring program kicks off in Truckee

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Truckee residents are committed to helping those in need, but it’s not just the grown-ups in the community doing the volunteering.

“I want to make a difference in a child’s life, and I want to give back to the community,” said Shelby Springer, a junior at Tahoe Truckee High School who joined Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that recently set up shop in Truckee.

One aspect of the new program matches Tahoe-Truckee youth with high school mentors for a supportive, one-on-one relationship, said Peggy Martin, case manager in the Truckee office.

On Thursday, 13 middle school students were paired up with 13 high school mentors to kick off the after school program where peers will discuss drug and alcohol prevention, friendship, self-esteem and other social issues impacting today’s youth.

“Kids end up doing better in school, they become more confident and more well-rounded,” Martin said. “It’s education you just don’t get from a regular classroom.”

Truckee High sophomore Carley O’Connell said she wishes there would have been a similar program to help her when she was in middle school.

“Middle school was difficult,” O’Connell said. “Having this program would have been helpful to give me someone to talk to; it would have been good to have an older role model to look up to.”

Eighth-grader Oscar Nunez of Alder Creek Middle School was paired with his mentor Thursday, and said he is looking forward to developing the new friendship.

“I like having someone to talk to, and having a friend to be there,” Nunez said. “I think people here can release more, and it puts them in a better mood at school because they’re not so stressed out.”