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YSS Youth Mentoring Network Celebrates ‘Thank Your Mentor’ Day

Posted 01/31/20

De'Ronn and Nick Colette and Kalynn Mariah, Brooklyn and Joanna Anna and Janaeh


For Immediate Release
Jan. 31, 2020
Contact: Betsy Bethel-McFarland,, 304-218-2894


WHEELING, W.Va.  —  They are young, old and in between. Some are retired; others work full- or part-time. They’re from different towns and varying backgrounds. But the volunteer mentors with the Youth Services System Youth Mentoring Network do have one thing in common: They all strive to make a positive difference in the lives of youth.

To thank them for their selfless service, the Youth Mentoring Network treated mentors and their mentees to a catered dinner at Generations Restaurant on Thursday, Jan. 30, which was national Thank Your Mentor day.

“There’s a quote that says to ‘be who you needed when you were younger,’” said Chanler Long, Youth Mentoring Network coordinator. “These mentors are pouring into the kids right now, and it will affect the entire Ohio Valley for years to come. That’s the mission of Youth Services, and you can’t underestimate the importance of it.”

According to the National Mentoring Resource Center,, youth who have had a mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college and 46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs. Ninety percent of those who responded to a survey reported they’d like to become a mentor some day.

Youth Services System (YSS) serves primarily youth but also adults through its emergency shelters, school-based mental health programs, parenting classes, prevention services, free store and Winter Freeze Shelter. The mission statement is “To create better futures for children, families, and our community.”

After the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters closed in 2016, YSS picked up the program where it left off and renamed it. Some of the same mentors are still serving.

On Thursday, mentees enjoyed a “fancy” night out with their mentors at Generations, and each mentor received a thermal travel coffee cup with the Youth Mentoring Network logo.

“We hope they feel appreciated always, and tonight especially,” Long said. “The program wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Anyone interested in mentoring can go to YSS conducts interviews with potential mentors in order to match them successfully with a child. Children are referred to the program by various sources, including parents, teachers, guidance counselors and social workers.

Mentors are asked to spend at least four hours a month with their mentee and commit to serving for one year. Every month, the network organizes and/or suggests an outing, such as ice skating, bowling, a concert or sports game. Many times, the events are free to attend.

For more information, visit the website or call Chanler Long at 304-218-2857.


For the story on WTRF-TV, click here.