TEMPLE, Texas (FOX 44) – 120 Temple Independent School District fifth and sixth graders met their new mentors as the district hosted its Wildcat Mentors kickoff event on Thursday.

The event took place at the Ralph Wilson Youth Club, located at 1515 South 25th Street. This program pairs students with volunteers from the community and school district to provide companionship, support and positive role models.

The program is now in its 14th year, and the district says it continues to grow – with almost 20 more mentees and mentors involved this school year. The kickoff event gave mentors a chance to meet their students for the first time to share a meal and some fun while getting to know each other.

Wildcat Mentors are expected to spend at least two hours a month with their student, and the program’s mission is to develop one-on-one relationships and support efforts to empower students to make positive choices enabling them to maximize their personal potential. The program also serves to provide students with regular and consistent contact with trusted adults, emphasize the value of learning and provide academic support, encourage educational and vocational exploration and provide information about opportunities in higher education.

Many of the mentors return to the program year after year, and these volunteers seem to benefit almost as much as the students they are mentoring.

The district says that even with the growth in the program this year, there is still room for additional volunteers. To learn more about the Wildcat Mentor program or to volunteer to serve as a mentor, you can visit the Temple ISD website at www.tisd.org, click on the “Community” tab and then select “Wildcat Mentors” from the drop-down menu.