Across Horry County, male and female volunteers have been making a difference in the lives of children by mentoring them one-on-one since 1984. The Children’s Mentoring Program of Horry County carefully matches girls and boys living in single-parent homes, or with other family members, to adults who serve as role models for them.
About five years ago, Grant Kuhn of Surfside Beach was with his prayer group, and he was “lamenting” the fact that he and his wife, Carol, had no children around, since their children and grandchildren do not live in the area. A man in the group quickly provided a solution – the Children’s Mentoring Program.
At the same time. Erin Battel was struggling to raise three boys and wondering how she could possibly provide the male influence they needed.
Kuhn became a mentor and was matched with Battel’s oldest son, Richard. He still mentors Richard, and Kuhn now serves on the board of the Children’s Mentoring Program.
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“Kids don’t come with handbooks,” Battel said. “I don’t know what parent wouldn’t want that handbook. You do the best you can, and then a guy like Grant comes along. To have such a wonderful man influence, help and guide my boys has just been wonderful.”
Although Grant only mentors Richard, the oldest, that has been invaluable to her and has given her a “guiding light” to follow with her other boys, she said.
The lasting effect of mentoring, she said, is that mentors not only make an investment in the life of a child, they make an investment in the community and in somebody’s family.
“It is an unbelievable gift,” she said.
Kuhn said he and Richard spend most every Saturday together. They go boating and fishing, to movies, and to church, where Richard attends a youth group and is getting ready to go to camp again with them, and they do many other activities together, sometimes with Carol included. And they talk, about all sorts of things, including growing up, politics and world affairs, which interest Richard very much.
When Kuhn and Richard are together, he always introduces Richard as his friend. He said he does not try to be a substitute or take the place of anybody.
The Children’s Mentoring Program is always in need of mentors. “If you are an adult who loves children and want to build into their lives, this is for you,” Kuhn said.
The Children’s Mentoring Program operates mostly on donations. It’s only annual fundraiser is on July 27 at 7 p.m. at the Waccamaw Shrine Club in Conway. Tickets are $100 and cover two steak dinners. There will be a raffle for $5,000 cash and other prizes.
When possible, groups of children with some mentors get to go to local attractions, so all free tickets to events or attractions are appreciated. The last outing was a Pelicans game, provided by a local hospice agency.
For tickets to the steak dinner/fundraiser, to donate or learn more about the program call 843-248-0164.
Peggy Mishoe, firstname.lastname@example.org, 365-3885.