About The Mentor's Project of Bibb County
Mentors spend a minimum of four hours per month with a middle or high school student from the Bibb County Public School System to encourage and motivate their protégé to reach their full potential. Mentors also expose their proteges to positive activities they might not otherwise experience, as well as steer them away from negative peer pressures. Unlike many other programs, The Mentors Project is unique in that mentors stay with their protégé for more than one school year. In fact, they follow their protégé through high school graduation to ensure that their protégé graduates with a post secondary plan in mind. This long-term commitment prevents students from reverting back to negative behaviors if their mentor moves on.
The need for this program in our community is great. Thirty-six percent of freshmen in the Bibb County public schools do not graduate with their class due to dropping out or falling behind academically.
Recent Program Changes – Size and Governance
Over the past few years the Mentoring Program has grown from a handful of mentors in one school to more than 130 in nine schools. This has happened because the success was developed in one school first and student and adult leaders from that school successfully mentored the newer programs as each new school was added to the project.
Recently, as the program grew and was improved, the governance of this program was changed. It is now run under the guidance of a separate, nonprofit agency governed by its own board of directors. The finances of the Mentor’s Project are audited by an independent accounting firm on an annual basis.
How and Why the Mentor’s Program Was Begun
The Mentor’s Project was initiated in 1990 by the Education Committee of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce. Mentoring was selected as a strategy which research had shown was a highly effective means to address the Chamber’s concerns for the success of students in the community. In fact, at that time, each year over 600 students in Bibb County Public Schools were dropping out of school before graduating.
A Successful Pilot Program was Gradually Implemented
A pilot student mentoring program was designed and implemented to provide adult mentors for these at-risk students. The pilot program began at Southeast High School. Soon, the encouraging stories about successful mentor/protégé pairs at Southeast High school prompted the further expansion of the program to the other schools in the area. Here is how the Bibb County Mentor’s Project grew from a pilot into a major program:
- Between 1991 and 1995 Central, Southwest, Westside and Northeast High Schools each adopted the Bibb County Mentor’s Program model.
- In 1996, both Miller and Appling Middle Schools joined the program to extend mentoring as a more proactive force to better support the success of potentially at-risk students in the middle grades.
- In 1999, Weaver Middle School joined the program ;
- In 2000, Ballard Middle School joined the Bibb County Mentor’s Project.