ATASCADERO — Sixteen Atascadero High School mentors connected with 16 sixth-grade Atascadero Middle school student mentees on Wednesday for their very first meeting of the Lighthouse Atascadero Mentor Program (L.A.M.P.). The volunteer high schoolers have completed an intensive training program to prepare them to provide listening and understanding skills as mentors, including how to deal with peer pressure and bullying. The participating sixth-graders were chosen at random after applying for the program.
L.A.M.P. is a program started by the Greyhound Foundation in collaboration with the Atascadero Unified School District, which was established to help the middle schoolers strengthen their individual abilities to make healthy decisions.
“The whole key to our success at any age is making a good decision and also being able to problem solve, and being able to think through things so you can solve that problem yourself,” School Board Trustee and Greyhound Foundation Executive Director, Donn Clickard said. He added that the mentor program aims at modeling positive leadership and will foster the virtues of good work ethic, honesty, and loyalty. “We think we can create a culture in this cohort of sixth-graders, that next year will be seventh graders. This is a pilot program that we hope will become a whole middle school program in cooperation with the high school. It’s a pretty wide-ranging set of goals.”
The program’s guiding principle is: ‘We, not me.’
The participating children in L.A.M.P. have been under the supervision of Julie Davis, AMS teacher and director, AHS teacher Mike Melzer and AHS teacher Joe Davis.
The one-and-a-half hour meetings will continue to take place within school hours, and will go on at least twice per month at AMS. Activities will include a possible zip-line bonding activity and/or movies at the Galaxy, among other outings, according to Clickard.