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The Leon school district needs more volunteers and mentors in its classrooms this fall

Jessica Palombo

The Leon County School district is seeking mentors and volunteers for students during the upcoming school year. They’ll work with kids on various issues like reading, math, and social and emotional development.

Superintendent Rocky Hanna put out the all-call Tuesday during a press conference at Raa Middle School—the school he attended as a child.

“Now is a critical time in their lives," said Hanna, "we as adults have been struggling for the past two, 2.5 years, with the after-effects of COVID. And so have children. So now, it's more important than ever that we ask you all—the adults in our community—if you have a spare hour to spend with a child. I promise you, you’ll get as much out of it, as they will.”

The district’s mentorship and volunteer programs have taken a hit in the past two years due to pandemic restrictions and kids have been greatly impacted—from learning loss, to a rise in mental health and behavioral problems that have shown up in school.

"We talk, unfortunately, a lot about the violence in our community and things that are not right. But this is right. This is good, and this is something that—in order to curb the violence and keep our kids on the right path—they need positive adult role models in their lives. So please, an hour a week. Step up. And help us, help a child," Hanna said.

During the last school year, more than a dozen kids were arrested and charged for carrying guns at school due to fears outside of them.

And according to a study released last October by the Leon County Sheriff's office, most of the victims and perpetrators of violent crime, and gun violence, are young Black boys and men with a history of dropping out or being expelled from school.

Sign-ups for the mentor and volunteer opportunities are availableon the district’s website. The school year begins on August 10th.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories here.