How to sign up to be a mentor for Youth Intercept Program

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Crime in Chatham County continues to be an ongoing problem for the city and its people.

The county’s Young Intercept Programs seeks to curve violence by meeting victims and offenders where they are at in order to prevent retaliation and seek young people up for a better life.

“We’ve seen kids who are first in their family to graduate high school, go to college get a degree, and have jobs  and that’s what we want. We want them to live in this community and be law-abiding citizens and thrive,” Chatham County District Attorney Meg Heap said.

YIP is aimed at people ages 12 to 25. For many, the impact begins in the hospital, where YIP staff will meet with victims and alleged offenders when they are stable. If the patients are willing, conversations will begin about their past, present and future.

Since 2014, the program has served 120 people. One current student is Fornorie Dudley, 17. Before entering the program, Dudley told WSAV he struggled with anger, fitting in and finding a purpose for his life. He was introduced to YIP and in July attended a summer camp where he met John Bush.

Bush is on staff with YIP and is currently serving as Dudley’s mentor.

“{Bush} was like the first person I could talk to and express my feelings too,” Dudley said.

For Bush, the benefits of mentoring is a two-way street.

“When mentoring him, I’m actually getting the chance to look at the things that I did and the mistakes that I made and I’m able to help guide him around the mistakes that he made that I made so he doesn’t have to make the same mistakes,” Bush said.

Dudley says his life has been changed because of Bush’s intentional impact.

“He made me open my eyes and see it’s better chances in life than just sitting around and doing nothing when I could be doing stuff with my life,” Dudley said.

Despite the pairs bond, there is a greater need for mentors for the program to be successful.

“For about 49 kids we need at least 25 and right now we have at least six active,” Program Director Sheryl Sams said. “They could give us one hour a week, one hour a month, everything matters.”

Sams says mentors, after being approved through an interview and background check, can go into schools, form relationships, and advocate for students in whatever is needed for a person.

If you would like to become a mentor call Sheryl Sams at (912) 414-8844 or (912) 350-0231.

 

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