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‘GoodGuides’ sets introductory celebration

By Staff | Jun 3, 2010

A new regional youth mentoring program is kicking off this week with a family oriented celebration at The Bridge Youth Center in Fort Myers.
Managed through Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, the GoodGuides program matches middle-and-high school students, ages 12-17, with an adult mentor who helps them stay out of trouble, explore career options, a university education or job skills training and focus on a making a plan for after school.
The mentoring program is brand new and officially opens this Friday with the celebration.
Courtney Portela, GoodGuides program manager, said teens are matched with an adult who has similar interests and can act as their guide. The program is free and is open to any teen in the five counties of Southwest Florida.
“Really, all teenagers are at risk of something. It is tough to be a kid,” she said.
Teens and their mentors also go on field trips and attend community events like baseball games.
Portela said the goal is to have 100 adolescents in the program, but currently they have 20 registered and they are asking for more to sign up.
GoodGuides is also asking for volunteers to serve as mentors. They can live anywhere in the five counties of Southwest Florida, must undergo a background check and will have the opportunity to participate in a mentor support group.
“We are really looking forward to getting it started in the community,” said Portela.
Friday’s celebration begins with a number of activities, such as basketball tournament, video games, table tennis, and refreshments are available from 3-6 p.m. Later, from 7-10 p.m., the facility will host a dance.
The faith-based youth center is located at 2128 Cleveland Ave. and will be signing up new GoodGuides participants all day.
Although GoodGuides is administered by Goodwill Industries, it is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
For more information about joining the program or volunteering as a mentor, contact Courtney Portela at 823-6931.