FALLBROOK — The Fallbrook Citizens’ Crime Prevention Committee seeks at least 12 more volunteers to serve as mentors for at-risk children in the Fallbrook area.
The program, known as GANAS (Guide, Advise, Nurture and Support) Group Mentoring, is proving to be an effective community crime prevention tool to help steer these children away from gang involvement, drugs and crimes, bringing lasting benefits to everyone.
The success of the program is dependent on volunteers (mentors) and their sacrifice to their community and its children. There are 9- to 14-year-old youth in the community who are hurting because there is no one to simply listen to them when they come home from school.
Volunteers can choose to give a gift of personal talent, time and commitment to help propel these at-risk children to become leaders and mentors themselves instead of gang members.
Mentoring helps these young people access support and resources necessary for developing leadership and academic skills so they may choose to live happy, healthy and productive lives.
“When GANAS started March 22, 2006, there were approximately 150 documented gang members in these communities,” said Pat Braendel, program administrator. “Now that number is down to around 50 documented gang members, due to unselfish volunteers believing in the slogan that if the gangs can’t recruit children, where does that leave the gangs?”
In GANAS Group Mentoring, there are 10 to12 children per site, with two men and two women volunteers. All mentors are properly screened, fingerprinted, trained and monitored. Program Coordinator Patsy Loughboro trains the mentors and provides them with individual support.
Mentees participate in group mentoring activities designed to teach life skills and personal development and promote academic progress. Each group meets 90 minutes (from 3:30 to 5 p.m.) once a week for 12 weeks, with a two- to three-week break between sessions.
Twelve mentors are needed right now for the next training sessions that will begin in December and January.
For more information or to sign up to be a volunteer/mentor, call Loughboro at (760) 738-6918 or Braendel at (760) 731-9127.