A North Charleston group that connects mentors with local students, and helps older students explore career options, is getting a boost from Charleston Young Professionals.

Charleston Young Professionals, a division of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, is partnering with the Be a Mentor organization.

"A significant group from CYP has shown interest in our middle and high school programs which are often the most difficult to recruit volunteers for," said Kristin Cunningham, executive director of Be A Mentor. "Additionally, when the youth we work with hear about young professionals and the work they are doing throughout the Lowcountry, that dream doesn't seem as far off to them."

Be a Mentor has three main programs throughout the Lowcountry. The Lunch Buddy program fills the need for in-school mentoring for elementary and middle schoolchildren. Project SHINE focuses on career exploration, academic success and teaches the importance of setting and reaching goals at the middle school grade levels. The Career Path program matches mentors with high school students interested in similar career areas.

"We run our programs in 16 Lowcountry schools and, in these schools, teachers, counselors and administrators consistently give us referrals for students who could benefit from having a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult in the school setting," Cunningham said.

Mentors typically meet with a child each week.

"Young professionals want to be involved in all aspects of the business community as they continue their professional development," said Erica Wright, CYP Director. "This partnership gives CYP members another opportunity for high impact, hands-on community involvement."