Youth Mentoring Initiative looking to expand roster of volunteer mentors

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The Youth Mentoring Initiative, a not-for-profit that aims to provide personal development and more to Hamilton County youths, is looking to expand its pool of mentors.

Fishers Junior High, Fishers High School and Options Charter Schools in Carmel and Noblesville all have a YMI program.

The overall goal of the program is to help children become whole, productive members of society.

“The ultimate goal is to help them (children) get prepared for life and to have the assets, the resources to be successful people,” Executive Director Darren Heil said.

YMI looks at success as being a whole person inside and out; grades are not the only focus.

“If more adults were engaged in the lives of young people, I believe our communities and neighborhoods would be better and richer places to live,” Heil said.

An informational meeting is being held at Fishers Fire Station 91 (2 Municipal Dr.) on Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Heil said the initiative is looking to add 60 volunteers to its current roster of 35 mentors as a result of demand from the schools.

He said the schools can see the impact mentors have on personal development and issues, freeing up teachers to focus on education.

“They (the schools) have a lot of kids that don’t have enough caring adults in their lives,” Heil said.

YMI focuses on values like integrity, honesty, responsibility, equality, peaceful conflict resolution, social justice and more, Heil said.

To do that, the organization seeks out volunteers who exemplify five values:  availability in time and presence, listening skills being, teachable, optimism and having an open mind.

Heil said he’d like to see communities transformed into mentoring communities.

YMI has been around since 2008 and through mentoring aims to keep kids on track, as opposed to waiting for them to stray, Heil said.

Heil said often business professionals sign on to be part of the mentoring program, such as insurance salespeople and real estate agents, as well as stay-at-home mothers.

YMI also has a program for teen mothers, but it is not recruiting at this time.

For more information, visit ymionline.org.

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