MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Thursday marks the last day of National Mentoring month, but a program in Bibb County celebrates it everyday.
The Mentor's Project of Bibb County pairs mentors with students. The goal is to improve the graduation rate and reduce the drop out rate.
"She encourages me," Miller Middle School eighth grader Danielle Williams said. "She's just a real good mentor."
"I would say more like a big sister," mentor Teresa West said.
Danielle Williams reached out to the Mentor's Project one year ago for help. That's when she was paired with her mentor, Teresa West.
"To know that you have helped somebody, to encourage them to stay in school, to help them, be there if they have a problem," West said.
"They're there for me, they help me out, they encourage me and they're just a big part of my life," Williams said.
The Mentor's Project wants other students to feel the same way. Calls pore in every day with students looking to sign up. Executive Director June O'Neal never turns a kid down, but there's a long list of students waiting to get paired up.
"We don't want children to feel like they're not important, that somebody does not value the fact that they want to stay in school and be successful," O'Neal said.
Currently, there are 62 kids on the waiting list. O'Neal is calling on the community to step up and change a student's life.
"We just need people that have a heart for the children," she said.
A heart and four hours a month. That's all it takes to become a mentor. O'Neal says its a small sacrifice to make for the greater good.
"Children need personal cheerleaders in their lives and that's all we're asking to do is step up, step out, and help bring somebody to the top," O'Neal said.
Last year, the Mentor's Project had an 87% graduation rate. The program is for students in 7th through 12th grade and enrolled in a bibb county school.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor or signing up your student for the program should call (478) 765-8624.