Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Be A Middle School Mentor

Proud to be from Pittsburgh: United Way mentor program

PITTSBURGH — One hour, once a week, could change a child's life.

That's what the United Way's Be A Middle School Mentor program believes. Channel 11 spent lunch hour at Manchester Academic Charter School with students and their professional counterparts to see the program in action.

While there, we met with one pair who has worked together in the program for three years. LaNajah Mayfield and Hayley Haldeman have forged a close bond through their weekly meetings.

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"Sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade is a really, really hard time," Haldeman said while talking about why the program is important.

The Be A Middle School Mentor program is in 22 schools across Pittsburgh. It helps students with learning skills, but also gives them another outlet to talk about any personal problems they may be facing at school.

"Right now, during this lunch hour, that's an opportunity to be there with somebody and actually talk to them," said Mayfield, an eighth-grade student.

They work on learning skills through games, get in physical activity with basketball matchups, and check in on each other.

"Mentoring for me has been the single most meaningful way that I think I have made an impact on the community while doing something I really enjoy," Haldeman said.

The mentor program picks up candidates in spring and right before school starts in late summer. Haldeman and Mayfield both said they want to see more mentors join, so there can be more opportunities for children in local schools.

To see how you can become a Middle School Mentor, click here.