Testimonials show worth of YouthFriends program
At last Thursday's De Soto Chamber of Commerce meeting, De Soto City Clerk Lana McPherson spoke unprompted of the joy she gets from USD 232's Youth Friends Program. Soon after, City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle forsook his monthly city report to the chamber to also tell of his positive experience with the program, with the prelude that his and McPherson's praise of the program were unplanned.
The program matches students who teachers in the district think could benefit from a positive relationship with an adult in the community with a volunteer. The adults are asked to spend an hour a week with the child for conversation, games or whatever interests the student.
As Guilfoyle and McPherson made clear, giving is receiving. They, too, benefit from the relationships. In a story that drew "aahs" from the chamber crowd, Guilfoyle told of telling his student one morning he wasn't in a good mood because he didn't like Mondays. The student's response was he did, because he got to spend time with Guilfoyle.
Who wouldn't want to hear such a compliment? And who can't use another friend?
If another reason is needed to participate, consider it could save taxpayer dollars. Students with positive adult relationships make better students and citizens. That makes for more efficient schools and could perhaps prevent problems in the child’s later life.
But the real benefit the relationship that develops between adult and child, as Guilfoyle and McPherson’s experience shows.
We encourage adults to volunteer for the program and make positive change in the community.