4-H Tribal Mentoring Program Combines Academics and Christmas Crafts
Connie Gerow, Cassidy Peters and Starr Ostroski.
Submitted by Connie Gerow, 4-H Tribal Mentoring Coordinator
The Franklin County Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Tribal Mentoring program at Salmon River Central School is a unique grant funded opportunity from the Federal Government Office of Justice and Juvenile Delinquency program to the National 4-H Foundation.
The goals for this program are to provide academic and social skills, exploring a variety of interests, to assist with redirecting youth from negative activity and to strengthen the bond of families. In addition, the long-term goals are to assist with reducing the high school dropout rate, to decrease youth suicide rates and juvenile delinquency. The program is open to students ages 10 to 17 that either have been recommended by their teacher or immediate family member.
Officially approved in late March 2012 by the Salmon River Central Board of Education, this program has been enjoying a significant growth in participation since its inception. A successful summer program of multiple activities that included blue-bird house construction, shooting sports, both archery and air Rifle, tie-dying, swimming and mini-Olympics, to exhibiting the crafts at the Franklin County Fair, a culminating process for all 4-H members.
When school officially started in September, summer program participants (12 Mentees) were encouraged to participate in a Tuesday and Thursday, after school mentoring program. Officially beginning at 3:15pm, the children arrive at the school’s central location, the High School Library, where the Site Coordinator and Mentors (High School Students) await their arrival. After a long day of school, the Mentees are provided with an organized recreational activity that may include an outside activity to participating in a Team Potato Tournament. A nutritional snack is supplied by the school district. After an adequate ‘blow off steam’ time, children are directed to work on their academics in a study hall like atmosphere. During this time, the mentors assist students with questions that arise from Math, Spelling, Social Studies and other academics. Before exiting the program, the students maintain a folder where each person records their progress and work credits. At 5:15 pm the children are provided with a bus pass to ride the Salmon River Central School bus home.
The Salmon River Middle School Guidance Counselor, Ms. Donna Herne has been instrumental with making student recommendations to this program. In addition, word of mouth by individual students has enhanced the program numbers threefold. Due to an increase in numbers, the site coordinator will be assisted with adult aides to address the necessity for monitoring the goals for the program.
More recently since the Thanksgiving break, an additional after school day as been added to the regular scheduled days. Every Wednesday, the children are provided with an opportunity to work on Christmas crafts: making a special gift box from recycled cards, Christmas craft designs, Christmas coloring contest, writing a MACY’s letter to Santa, to making and frosting nochill cookie cutter cookies and making homemade ice cream. The latter of the two projects have been assisted by Mrs. Karen Armstrong and Mrs. Diane Dumont, Cornell Cooperative Extension Staff.
To learn more about 4-H in Franklin County or the 4-H Tribal Mentoring program, one may call the Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Office at 483-7403; Connie Gerow at 518-358-4271 or Tsiehente Herne at 613-360-6388.