4-H mentoring programs and individual mentors honored

It surely was "An Evening with the Stars" during the 2009 Governor's Service Awards in June.

It surely was “An Evening with the Stars” during the 2009 Governor’s Service Awards in June. The outdoor event took place at the governor’s Lansing residence and featured 39 finalists selected from nearly 120 individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations from across the state. Of those finalists, Gov. Jennifer Granholm presented the Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) Journey 4-H Youth Mentoring Program of West Olive with the Outstanding Mentoring Program Award and Jonathan Crawford of the Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program with the Mentor of the Year Award.

Finalists were nominated for their commitment to volunteer service. The Outstanding Mentoring Program Award goes to an exceptional mentoring program that has systems in place for recruitment, retention, background checks, ongoing support and evaluation and is responsible for developing and maintaining high-quality experiences for both the mentor and mentee. The MSUE Journey 4-H Youth Mentoring Program of West Olive does just that and then some.

The MSUE Journey 4-H Youth Mentoring Program has been focusing on positive youth development since its creation in 1992. The program pairs Ottawa County youth exhibiting delinquent behavior with caring adults in an effort to reduce criminal behavior. Youth participate voluntarily and are referred by probation officers, therapists and other community agencies through a partnership with the juvenile court system.

The Mentor of the Year Award honors an individual who has made a difference in a child’s life over time through mentoring, or someone who has developed a structured and trusting relationship that brings a young person together with a caring individual who offers guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee. Jonathan Crawford of the Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program showed what being a phenomenal mentor is about and walked away with the Mentor of the Year Award.

Crawford serves as a mentor for two boys. He speaks with and visits his mentees far beyond the two hours twice a week required of the mentors participating in the Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program. He communicates with them and their parents to work on emotional impairments and academics. He often takes the boys to Oakland University basketball games, local events in the Detroit area and Wayne County 4-H Mentoring Program activities.

Congratulations to all involved in these outstanding mentoring programs!

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