High Five program benefits students, mentors

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L'ANSE, Mich. (WLUC) - A mentoring program is connecting U.P. students of all ages.

January is national mentoring month, and one particular program is really benefiting students.

"My kindergarteners just love it," said L'Anse Schools Kindergarten Teacher, Stacey Simonsen. "When we put it on our schedule, our picture schedule, in the morning they actually cheer because we get to go to High Five on Wednesdays."

High Five mentoring brings Big Brothers, Big Sisters, into local schools.

High school students spend one hour each week with elementary students.

"It is a great way for them to get to know a peer here at school, a mentor that they can get to know and make that direct connection with someone here," Simonsen said. "They have a great time building their communication skills with someone older and also playing and building skills for our academic practice."

All mentors are volunteers. Each mentor is paired with a younger student to build a one-on-one friendship.

"I've been doing this since ninth grade. At first I had a fourth grader and it has gone all the way down to first grade. I just love children and it is a nice break from classes all day," said High Five Mentor Kylie Brunk. "My kids love to color, play games. Sometimes we read to them and just let them count to 100 hundred and practice their math skills."

The program boosts confidence in all students involved as well as building skills.

"Initially with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, we're focusing on the child and hopefully building some self-esteem. We also see with this program a double impact because our High Five mentors are benefiting from this program also, equally as much as the little kids. We see a boost in their confidence levels and we are exposing them to community service," said Program Director Maggie Munch.

High Five is available at many schools across the U.P.

For more information, click here.