The annual “Bowl for Kids” raises funds to support Mentor Me North Georgia, a local non-profit organization that provides one-on-one mentoring relationships between volunteer adults and children. The recent 2016 event attracted a record 130 bowlers and corporate sponsors.  It was held at Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Cumming.

Sylvia Cardona, executive director of Mentor Me North Georgia said “Everyone had a great time, and it was good to have so many bowlers participate.  Supporters from our community had a chance to visit with our mentors and mentees and enjoy the fun.  The funds we raise help us match children with caring mentors.  And that’s what is important.  Thank you to everyone in our community who supports children and youth,” she said.

Kim Castleberry is a mentor for the second time.  She was matched with Erika one year ago.  “Having mentors gives these children a chance to experience things in life that they would not be able to otherwise,” she said.  “And mentoring gives me a joy that I also would not experience any other way.  It is an opportunity for me to share a relationship with a child who needs that kind of support.   We enjoy playing games, going shopping, and making jewelry,” she said.

Jane Iglesias is  the 2016 Mentor Me chair.  “I believe in Mentor Me,” she said.  “It is important to empower children and provide them with someone who can guide them in the right direction.  It also helps the community.  If children can relate to a positive role model, they will more likely  do better in school, relate to others, and ultimately contribute to the community,” she added.

Mentor Me matches volunteer adults with children ages 6 – 17, who need and want mentors. Men are matched with boys, and women with girls. They share everyday activities such as sports, movies, and music events.  But most importantly, they develop healthy adult-child relationships, according to Cardona.  Children in the Forsyth County program demonstrate increased self-confidence and esteem and show measured improvement in academic performance and behavior.

Mentor Me is a Forsyth County United Way agency. However, the organization depends on private donations for 50 percent of its funding. To volunteer or make a donation, contact Sylvia Cardona at 678-341-8028 or sylvia@mentormenorthga.org. Go to their website www.mentormenorthga.org.