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Volunteers needed to help students throughout Pueblo County

United Way of Pueblo says this has been the hardest year yet to find mentor volunteers
Posted at 7:40 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 22:31:06-04

PUEBLO — Thane Appleby, a 7th grader at Liberty Point Middle School in Pueblo West, and John Ohlsen, a retired physician spend time every single weekend.

Ohlsen says he learns a lot from Appleby about "different kinds of foods, different kinds of music, and different kinds of games."

Ohlsen is Appleby's mentor through Pueblo United Way, who partners with both school District 60 and District 70. United way is in need of 20 to 25 more mentors this year before August 29.

"The really interesting thing about this year is we desperately need male applicants, only about 10% of the people who have applied this year are men," said Tanya Semintal, the Mentor Manager with Pueblo United Way. Semintal says it is important to get more male applicants to offer good role models for kids like Appleby.

"I have ADHD and I move around a lot," said Appleby, noting how much the program has benefited him.

"It kinda helped me talk to people, because I don't do much talking."

The positive outcomes Appleby has seen from his participation in United Way's mentor program is why he says other adults should volunteer, because "you never know what a teenager's going through, so you might want to join it and help them out."

Semintal says she has seen that the mentor program benefits both parties.

"Every human being on the planet needs human connection, and mentoring makes that all possible and it changes hearts and minds, but we also know that it really makes a positive impact on the students."

Mentors must be 21 years old or older and pass a background check.

The mentors spend roughly one hour per week with their assigned mentee at the school the attend, and can choose their days on a week to week basis.

For more information and how to apply, click here.