My Turn: Mentoring gives young people chance to shine

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

By Laura L. Porter

If you happened to be cruising along Jake Alexander Boulevard on a recent sunny Saturday, you may have seen a group of young people holding up signs and waving their arms, trying to get your attention.
These energetic youth wanted dirty cars to turn in and receive a car wash to help raise awareness and funds for Times Two, a mentoring program at Rowan County Youth Services Bureau, a United Way member agency.
As soon as they glimpsed the familiar flash of a turn signal and a car entering the parking lot, the youth bolted into action and manned their stations. They worked together in teams to wash each car and then wipe it down until it gleamed. Proud smiles followed the cars from the parking lot.
While one group of young people washed cars, another group prepared hot dogs. There was no charge for the car wash, but donations were gratefully accepted. Thanks to the generosity of some very nice people, our expenses for the day were covered. All remaining donations will be used for upcoming program activities. Often, the youth in Times Two give ideas of what they would like to do — if only there were more money. “If …” and “more money” are familiar phrases these days in many organizations. The funds raised at the car wash will help us provide activities to help Times Two participants learn and practice a variety of skills.
This event was made possible through the sponsorship of Gerry Wood Auto Group, 523 Jake Alexander Boulevard West, whose staff was friendly, welcoming, and helpful with every aspect of the car wash. Not only that, but they also made a donation to the Times Two Mentoring program.
Was there a coach who saw the best in you, even when it was hiding from everyone else? A teacher? A friend? If you remember someone who gave you a chance, giving your time to help do the same could change the life of a young man or woman in Rowan County. Right now there are a dozen young men waiting to be matched in a meaningful, caring relationship. To learn more about how you can make a difference in a young person’s life, please contact me (Laura L. Porter) at 704-633-5636 ext. 104 or by email: lauraporter.x2@ Please feel free to make an appointment or drop by for a volunteer application.
By the way, if you couldn’t attend the car wash but would like to make a donation, we will gladly accept it! All donations are fully tax-deductible. Our mailing address is: Rowan County Youth Services Bureau, C/O Laura Porter (Times Two) 1322 South Fulton Street, Salisbury, NC 28144.

Laura Porter directs the Times Two mentoring program at the Rowan County Youth Services Bureau.