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Milwaukee youth mentor program seeks to expand services throughout county

Posted at 9:54 PM, Apr 17, 2023

MILWAUKEE — An opportunity to expand mentoring services to youths throughout the Milwaukee area now lies in the hands of 17 county supervisors.

"There are a lot of needs throughout the city where there are just gaps of mentors," said LaNelle Ramey, the executive director of Mentor Greater Milwaukee.

Last week, Ramey presented his mentoring mindsets proposal before the board's finance committee. He's looking to receive $250,000 in ARPA funding from the county in hopes of using that money to aid his organization's mission at Mentor Greater Milwaukeeto impact more kids' lives.

"One in three young people are without an adult mentor in their life," said Ramey.

The non-profit recruits and trains those interested in becoming mentors and places them in different organizations throughout the city. If granted the funding, Ramey says he'd use the money to extend Mentor Greater Milwaukee's reach within the community. He says he'd focus on recruiting more adult mentors, providing more mentor training workshops, and implementing peer mentoring models within schools.

"We are hopefully going to reach 20 schools over the next couple of years with the idea that young people are mentoring one another," said Ramey.

18-year-old Carmelo Knight, one of the organization's youth mentoring ambassadors, says creating these opportunities is critical for a generation he feels has lost its way.

"I feel like we are lost. I feel like we don't have as much guidance as we should have and I think that's another thing that kind of pushes me towards mentoring," said Knight.

But with this potential funding, leaders say they'll be able to help change the narrative.

"They are less likely to skip school, they are more likely to even become a mentor long-term, and one of my favorite other points is they are more likely to hold some type of leadership positions," said Ramey.

The proposal will soon go before the full board of supervisors for a final vote.

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