Be the One mentoring program growing at LMS

Be the One mentoring program growing at LMS
Posted on 10/11/2018

Brian Clemmer know kids. He’s worked as a youth pastor, Boys & Girls Club program director, detention officer and humanitarian worker in Mexico. “All of those experiences in my life, I just knew I loved working with youth,” he says.

Add in Clemmer’s experience training adults and the opportunity to lead the Lynden Middle School Be the One mentoring program was tailor-made. “I felt like as I was applying and went through the process, this job was made for me and my makeup, my character and who I am,” he says. “I am drawn to kids who are struggling not just academically or with behavior, but also kids who need extra support, extra adults in their lives. That just interests me a lot and I want to help how I can.”

Clemmer started at the middle school in February, undergoing training along the way. Now in his first full year working independently, he runs the Be the One mentor program at the middle school that pairs students in the school with community volunteer mentors. The in-school program — mentors meet with students for an hour — happens entirely inside the school and is open to any interested student.

Sometimes those students find the program because they’ve heard about it from a friend, have heard Clemmer speak about the program in a class or have been referred by a counselor or teacher. No matter how they find Be the One, all students have the opportunity to gain mentoring.

“There are studies out there that show mentoring can help with academics, attendance, confidence, participation in activities, post-high school planning, jobs and career directions, skills for the workforce and can decrease risky behavior,” he says. “The mentors come alongside the students and encourage and build confidence, personal growth and character.”

Clemmer says he’s seen with many of the students he’s worked with that school might not be their favorite thing in the world, but a mentor offers an outlet to talk about issues, whether difficulties at school or at home. “It is a unique relationship not found with a counselor, teacher or parent,” he says. “Often a foundation is built and a student can then share with this person confidentially and they build trust. It gives a little bit of an outlet for the students to express themselves and work through some issue they might be having.”

Currently at LMS, 14 students are involved in the Be the One program with another 11 on the waiting list. Typically, he finds that females are more likely to volunteer from the community, but that middle school boys are the ones stuck on the waiting list, in a holding pattern until more males from the community volunteer. Clemmer not only helps pair the students and adults, but he also recruits and trains adults. He says the focus right now is finding more interested girls in the school and more interested males in the community.

The Be the One program continues in high school, so often students partnered early in their middle school career can stick with the same mentor all the way through graduation.

For volunteers interested in learning more, visit the Be the One website at BeTheOneToday.org. For parents or students looking for more information, contact Clemmer at LMS or Lisa Reynolds at Lynden High School.