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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 4, 2012


LAUREL (June 4, 2012) - In partnership with the Sussex County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Laurel School District and Laurel Senior High School will host a mentoring rally at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at the high school to address the needs of at-risk students.

Parents, members of the community, government and school officials, and community leaders are asked to attend. Students are planning the rally in the school's gym and will participate in it. Representatives from RSVP, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and state government will present information about Laurel's mentoring program and its start-up in the fall. The mentoring program is an initiative under Delaware's federal Race to the Top plan.

Ed Kee, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, will provide the keynote address. Kee and his wife, Debbie, who live on a farm near Lincoln, established a scholarship to send graduates of Delaware high schools who major in agriculture to the University of Delaware. Kee also is passionate about mentoring, and has affected the lives of several students through his personal mentoring commitment.

"We need more adults to be role models for our young people and guide them along the right path, and Laurel's program will be a great advancement in that effort," Kee said. "When responsible adults take an interest in our students' lives, they thrive. The benefits for young people are immeasurable, and mentors gain a great deal from the experience as well."

In the mentoring program at Laurel Senior High School, volunteers will be asked to commit to weekly one-hour meetings with individual students over the course of the school year. Meetings can take place at school or outside of school. Mentors will receive training, support and supervision. The high school is at 1133 S. Central Ave.

"This is a testament to the community connectedness of the Sussex RSVP, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the school district," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees RSVP through its State Office of Volunteerism. "Mentoring truly can be the key to unlocking the potential of so many young people."

For more information about the event and about RSVP, call the Sussex County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, at (302) 856-5815.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.