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Wildcat mentor program back on track at Temple ISD

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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Temple, Texas (KWTX) - A program pairing middle school children with mentors at the Temple Independent School District is back on track.

Wildcat mentors and their mentees celebrated with a reunification ceremony Thursday morning. The Wildcat Mentor program tasks an adult with mentoring a fifth or sixth grader.

Because of the pandemic, the program was forced to operate under a pen pal system last year.

“It was really hard not being there to see that child,” said Bre’Layshia Alexander, a Wildcat mentor.

Alexander has been volunteering with the program the past four years. Her story is unique because she joined the program after she stopped teaching at the district.

Once she started volunteering, she learned how some students were struggling in a more personal way.

“Kids worrying about if their (parents) bills are being paid. I didn’t think that was going on in Temple. You get to meet kids, and maybe they’re falling asleep in class or their behavior has dropped, or their grades have dropped, it’s normally for a reason,” Alexander said.

Because of the move to the letter writing system, the one-on-one interactions mentors had in the years prior were lost.

That was one of the more noticeable issues for district superintendent, Bobby Ott, who also volunteers as a mentor.

“For me, it’s a more intimate knowledge of the student,” Ott said. “And of course, I learn about the school system more intimately as well.”

With a return to the face-to-face activities, there is hope in adding more stability to the students who participate in the program.

“With kids you have to be consistent. With teaching, yeah, you have your rules, you have to be consistent with your rules,” Alexander said. “But with building a relationship, whomever you are, you have to consistent with that.”

Read more on ways to join the program here: Wildcat Mentors

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