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County mentor program receives national award
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For 17 years, county employees and partnering agencies have made mentoring youth a priority. Their efforts were recognized recently with an Achievement Award by the National Association of Counties.

“This is simply an amazing program” said Terry Withrow, Stanislaus County Supervisor and Board Chairman.  “By engaging our struggling young people early we are so better equipped to provide them the level playing field opportunities they deserve.  I am so proud of our employee groups and all of our community partners for making this program a pure best practice.”

Over a 40 minute lunch hour, employees volunteer their time to change a young person’s life by helping them identify, grow and achieve their goals. The program uses a team-based approach comprised of as many as three employees who rotate their mentor days, so the young person consistently receives a visit twice a week.

County employees, along with partner agencies including Modesto City Schools, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, a faith based collaborative, service clubs, retired employees and local college students are all part of the Stanislaus County Employee Mentor Program.  Through a completely voluntary effort, the program provides quality mentoring time and attention to area young people in grades 3 to 5 primarily.

"The National Association of Counties applauds county governments that are embracing innovative and more effective ways to serve their constituents. The Achievement Awards recognize counties’ outstanding efforts to strengthen services and deliver results for residents across the country,” said NACo President Riki Hokama, a council member in Maui County, Hawaii.

Nationally, awards were given in 21 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.