Several days a week, Joint Base Charleston airmen and sailors volunteer their time to mentor students at Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science in North Charleston.

“Having a mentoring program like this is such a positive thing for these children,” said Jim Brooks, a guidance counselor at the school. “The service members are such positive role models that care about the students and show them a world of good.”

This is the second year airmen and sailors have been participating at Zucker Middle. The mentorship program lasts throughout the school year. Each service member is assigned one student who they meet with every week during a nonacademic class.

“Some of the mentors will bring their students lunch,” Brooks said. “A child always loves getting surprised with a hamburger when they aren’t expecting it.”

The mentor program has almost 50 volunteers this year.

“There are more and more students who come to my office every day asking if they can have a mentor. It’s one thing they look forward to the most,” said Brooks. “Right now, we have about 40 students without a mentor who would love to be assigned to someone, and we are welcoming more service members; we would love more.”

Airman 1st Class Tashanna Holt, 437th Aerial Port Squadron combat air transportation specialist, mentors two students.

“It’s wonderful to know that I am doing something helpful and positive for them,” said Holt. “Having a role model impacts their life, and is helpful for their future.”

Not only do the mentors enjoy visiting their students every week, the students also express their joy at seeing their mentors.

“I love that my mentor asks me how my day was; it shows me that she cares about me,” said Katelynn Clark, a sixth-grade student at Zucker Middle.

“It is great to actually have someone to talk to and that I can tell stuff to,” said seventh-grader Destiny Swenton.

Children need a great role model in their life, someone to look up to, said Brooks. The mentorship program is a way for these children to see that there is more to life out there than what some of them may see every day.

“This is an excellent experience for these students,” said Brooks. “It is a time for these children to have someone to talk to, someone to relate with and someone to make them feel special.”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact Jim Brooks at 207-3078 or james_brooks@charleston.k12.sc.us

See http://zucker.ccsdschools.com/mentor_program.