The Paper of Montgomery County, in cooperation with the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, will weekly be bringing its readers stories of Montgomery County children who are currently in need of a mentor through the Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP). This is the first story installment. All names and some situational details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the children.

Every year the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau reaches into the lives of local children, assisting and helping them become better individuals. The YSB's vision is to have a community where all children are respected, nurtured, and protected. In this spot of safety children are able to grow into strong individuals and eventually productive citizens. One of the programs the Youth Service Bureau uses to help create this feeling of respect is the Juvenile Mentoring Program, also known as JUMP.

JUMP provides volunteer mentors from the community to children who would benefit from a sustainable one-on-one mentoring relationship. This mentor acts as the child's friend, guide, and support in times of need. Mentoring relationships work - children who are mentored for at least a year do better in school,

are less likely to do drugs, and have a better outlook of their future.

JUMP is a program that works, and because of that there are always children on the waiting list for a mentor. In this story series YSB staff will profile these children, leaving out all identifiable information, and hope that there are community members out there who are willing to start this journey of being a mentor to a child in need.

The first child to be profiled is June. June is 6 years old, and she is one of the youngest kids on the waiting list for a mentor. June, like so many other children in Montgomery County, is being raised by her grandparents. "June's grandparents want her to have someone outside the home to do things with her," Jill Hampton, JUMP Program Manager says. "Her grandmother is disabled and her grandfather has to work so many times that June has to fend for herself."

The grandparents want June to have fun and get to go out once in a while. June is artistic, friendly, and outgoing. Her favorite school subjects are art and reading, and she belongs to the school's book club. June loves sports and would like to play on the soccer team and be in girl scouts. She also likes fishing, board games, baking cookies, watching movies and doing puzzles.

"Anything that June hasn't done, she is eager to try," Hampton said.

The perfect mentor for June would be someone who is energetic, bright, and cheery. The mentor would have to enjoy trying new things and keeping up with an outgoing 6-year-old girl.

If you believe you could be the perfect mentor for June, contact Hampton today at 362-0694 ext. 12 or at jillhysb@sbcglobal.net for more information. "Mentoring is one of the best things you can do for a child," Hampton said.