Dowling Mentor Program Turns Twenty
April 25, 2006
By KATE RICH The Review
Twenty-years worth of mentors and mentorees gathered in the Hoover Price Campus Center of Mount Union College Sunday evening to honor the success of Mount Union's Dowling Mentor Program. The program, which began as one couple's - Jack and Madge Peters - attempt to do something for the young people in the Alliance area, was designed to enrich students' lives by pairing them with mentors for tutoring, cultural, recreational and community service activities. The program was named for Bob Dowling, an Alliance middle school teacher who, according to Mount Union's Web site, always dreamed of giving students a chance, especially those who had potential for academic success.
"The Peters' continued interest in the program and the mentors who are willing to see their students at least once a week are what makes this program successful," said program director of 15 years, Lorie Miller. "Even the fact that so many of these mentors are at this banquet tonight right before finals start - that's a sign of their dedication. We couldn't do it if we didn't have these mentors and these students who are willing to try something new ... this is definitely a group effort."
As guests mingled among appropriately decorated tables draped in white table clothes with purple napkins, dining on a buffet style dinner and brownie sundaes, Miller introduced the special guest for the night: Miss Teen USA, Allie LaForce.
"I love this mentoring program. I get to live with Miss USA and Miss Universe in New York and I have learned a lot in developing mentor-type relationships with them."
Willette Merrell is appreciative of the program's influence on her daughter, Brannisha. "She loves it. Her former mentor graduated and now she has her sister as a mentor. She picks Brannisha up and they go out for dinner or something about once a week ... She's been in it since seventh grade and now she's in ninth. It gets her out of the house. It seems like a really great program and she just loves it."
Arieze Evans reflected on her experience thus far with the program as her mentor, Candace Orth, a junior at Mount Union, listened and then responded. "It's a superior program," said Evans. "It's a phenomenal experience to meet people. There are great mentors and great mentorees. It's just a cool experience to hang out with a college student." Orth said, "Arieze and I haven't been able to get together as much this semester ... she's busy with track and cheerleading ... but I've learned so much from meeting with her this year. Just in seeing what the kids are up to ... it's been really helpful to me because I'm an education major."
The mentor program is also designed to benefit college mentors by allowing them to broaden their understanding of individuals, to develop leadership skills and to become involved in solving society's problems.
As the program continued, senior mentors were honored and a plaque and memory book were presented to the Peterses.
The Dowling Mentorship Program also includes enrichment activities and community service projects, allowing students to work alongside mentors in serving the community. For more information on the mentorship program, visit Mount Union's Web site at www.mountunion.edu.