Skipping just one TV show a week could make a world of difference in a child’s life; so could running to raise funds for Project Hope.

Project Hope is a program that matches youth ages 13-21 who are in foster care or other programs through Children and Youth Services with a positive, caring adult who will mentor them, Adams County Children and Youth Services Mentoring Specialist Tessa Adams.

A Mentor MOVEment 5K is planned to promote and support Project Hope.

The 5K, sponsored by Healthy Adams County with proceeds going to the program, is not just about money, but instead raising awareness for Project Hope, Adams said.

The 5K will be a “great family experience,” said Adams. Participants of all ages can walk, run and even bring their furry friends.

“If we can get one person to say, ‘I want to become a mentor’ and match them with a kid it will be a complete success,” Adams said.

The 5K will be held Saturday, July 20 at 8 a.m. at the Gettysburg Rec Park. Runners can register online at https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Gettysburg/MentorMOVEment5K.

Giving up a short amount of personal time, such as the length of a television show, once a week to act as a mentor to a young person could bring about terrific change, said Adams.

Mentors can coach the youth in daily living activities, be a listening ear, introduce them to new opportunities, empower them to make responsible decisions and spend time pursuing activities of shared interest, according to Adams.

Every child is referred to Adams, who said she spends time with the young person, getting to know them. After learning about the child’s interests, she begins her search for a mentor who will be the best match for the child.

“I intentionally recruit each mentor,” Adams said.

If a youth is interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice, Adams said she will find a member of the community who is willing to become a volunteer with the program.

After the volunteer is found, he or she goes through background checks and is trained before meeting the mentee.

“Mentors give kids consistency, something that they may not be getting elsewhere,” Adams said. “They are investing in local kids and changing their lives.”

A mentor must commit to the program for at least a year. Mentors are required to spend five hours a month with their mentee, which includes a monthly group activity hosted by Project Hope.

“Most mentor-mentee relationships meet weekly based on the schedules of the individuals,” Adams said. “The time commitment is one less Netflix episode per week, and in that time, you can make an investment in a child’s life which will benefit the community.”

In the beginning of 2018, the program only had four mentors, but grew to 10 by the end of the year.

Now halfway through 2019, the program has 19 mentors, some of which were recruited by their peers.

To learn more about becoming a mentor or the Mentor MOVEment 5K Run and Walk, check out “Project Hope” on Facebook or contact Adams at (717)337-0110 or projecthope@adamscounty.us.

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