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Mentor Role Model Program awaits move to new location increasing accessibility

The Mentor Role Model Program will soon have a new home. Currently housed in the former Leggett building owned by Halifax Regional Hospital, the Mentor Role Model Program anticipates moving into the Phase 2 section of the Washington-Coleman Community Center currently under renovation by the first of July.

Executive Director Angela Townes Yancey, Program President David Martin and founders Harvey Dillard and Gatha Richardson toured their soon-to-be new home with South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel Monday afternoon.

“Because of the exposure, people will be able to put a face with the program. They will be able to put a place with the program, and they will have access,” an excited Yancey said. “Everyone knows where Washington-Coleman is. People will start to relate the program with education.” 

The Phase 2 renovations include an office and activity room for the program. Yancey anticipates using the activity room to hold board meetings and as a supervised meeting place for mentors and mentees, arts and crafts, workshops and other various uses.

“We have our own activity area in a central location where mentors can meet with their mentees in a controlled environment. The cameras are always running,” Yancey said.

Not only will Phase 2 house the mentor Role Model Program, but it will be home to a large multi-purpose room, recording studio, day room and a satellite library.  

Yancey noted the goal of the board is to conduct more activities for the mentees such as sporting events, social events and team building activities, and being surrounded by the many amenities of the Phase 2 portion of the Washington-Coleman Center will help the program achieve that goal.

 “The possibilities are endless,” Yancey said.

According to Yancey, the single biggest benefit of the program moving into the Phase 2 portion of the Washington-Coleman Center is accessibility.

“Just having a centralized office that is accessible will make the difference,” Yancey said.

She hopes with the move more people will become aware of the program, and they will see an increase in mentors as well as mentees.

According to Yancey, the program currently has 25 to 30 mentors and 50 to 60 mentees.

The program was founded in 1991 by Harvey Dillard, Gatha Richardson and Carter Hicks with the goals of improving social skills and building character in at-risk/high risk youth and reducing and preventing juvenile crime. 

Their mission continues to be guiding, encouraging and nurturing the youth of Halifax County by matching them with dedicated and caring mentors in an organized program. They work to foster caring relationships between adult mentors and at-risk or high-risk youngsters in order to strengthen the ability of students to overcome adverse circumstances, stay in school and become productive citizens.

“If we can step in now and be a support system that our youth really need, then we can prevent future crime, future gang activity, we can prevent future teen pregnancy, ” Yancey said. “We need to support our youth, so they won’t get support from negative images and start living a negative lifestyle.”

According to Yancey, the program offers workshops for parents, reading books for the mentees, activities such as cook-outs, bowling and ball games, life education classes, day trips, motivational meetings and more.

Anyone 18 and over can be a mentor. Mentors must undergo a background check and training at no cost to them.

 Halifax County School teachers refer the mentees, but parents who feel their child is in need of a positive mentor also can ask the child’s teacher for a referral.

Those interested in mentoring or who think their child would benefit from having a mentor are asked to contact Yancey at 434-575-3011.