Mentor Center faces critical need | NevadaAppeal.com

Mentor Center faces critical need

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

When Debbie Bunch made the commitment to become a mentor, she was a little apprehensive about the child with whom she would be matched.

Then she met 12-year-old Tori Moon.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, I’m the luckiest lady,'” she related. “I got the cutest kid in town.”

Tori has a stack of photos documenting the time the two have spent together since April. There are pictures of them touring Sierra Veterinary Hospital because of Tori’s interest in animals. There’s another picture at a party and more of Tori in the camouflage-print dress the two of them made together.

“I love that dress,” Tori said. “I wore it for three days straight.”

The Mentor Center of Western Nevada has 43 pairs of mentors and mentees, but there is a waiting list of about 24 children who are waiting for mentors.

“I really want to match these kids up,” said Ruth Gordon, director of the mentor center. “I don’t want a program here that doesn’t work.”

Bunch raised two sons, David Miller, 25, and Kevin Bunch, 19. Three years ago, she retired from her state job.

With the extra time on her hands, she decided to become a mentor.

“I’m doing all kinds of things I wouldn’t ordinarily do anymore,” she said. “I just really, really love her energy. It keeps you young.”

But, she said, it’s not only the retired people who should volunteer.

“Anybody who says they don’t have anything to do just drives me crazy,” she said. “There are so many children who need mentors. It doesn’t take that much time.”

Tori spent Thursday afternoon with Bunch, painting a plaque for her friend’s birthday. She has learned to paint and sew from Bunch but mostly likes hanging out with her.

“She’s nice and she let’s me talk,” she said. “She never interrupts me. I love my mom. She’s awesome. But having a mentor has me an opportunity to open up to other people.”

A training session is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Seeliger Elementary School. Sandwiches will be provided.

IF YOU GO

What: Mentor training

Where: Student Support Services at Seeliger Elementary School, 2800 S. Saliman Road, northeast entrance

When: 6-9 p.m. Tuesday