June 2021 - 56

Park Bench

Mount Airy (North Carolina) Parks and Recreation is excited to be one of five NRPA Youth
Mentorship Program grantees. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unique
programming challenges and opportunities for our mentorship program. In January 2021, after
months of not being able to offer most programs, the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation motto
became " How can we offer this program and offer it safely? " Following the lead of other NRPA
Youth Mentorship grantees, Youth Mentorship Coordinator Jaimi Scott and Family Services
Supervisor Kim Wilson took on the task of creating and implementing virtual group mentoring activities. Before each activity, a Zoom meeting was created and kits with any supplies that
were needed were delivered to the homes of participants. The first virtual activity consisted
of making pony bead bracelets. Scott and Wilson had mentors, mentees, siblings, parents and
even one grandmother laughing, engaging and making bracelets. Since this inaugural virtual
activity, program staff have led an activity every two weeks. These virtual activities have
included facemask decorating, a Valentine's Day craft and game night, as well as a virtual
fort night where everyone created forts out of blankets and mats. This past February, mentees
celebrated Black History Month by coming up with 10 facts about a famous historical or
influential Black leader and presenting their findings during a Zoom meeting. Although they
were nervous, they did an amazing job honoring their assigned person. A similar virtual event
was held for Women's History Month, whereby each mentee got to pick an influential female
in history or one who had personally impacted their life.
As COVID-19 restrictions are being eased by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, face-to-face mentoring is now occurring along with virtual activities. Schools have
allowed mentors back in person to have lunch with their
mentees, and matches have been able to meet at the local
community center for physically distanced activities, such as tie dying shirts, playing pingpong or basketball, taking swim lessons and homework tutoring in our computer lab.
The agency's most successful group mentoring activity has been " egging " the yards of our mentees and their
siblings for Easter. Program staff and mentors, when possible, went to the home of each mentee and hid Easter eggs for all the children in the household. Easter baskets were then placed on the porch for the children to
hunt eggs with. More than 1,000 eggs were hidden in mentees' yards during the week preceding Easter. Each
individual egg contained candy and an anti-drug or anti-bullying slogan. More than 30 different slogans were
used, including: " Be all you can be, go drug free " and " Stop bullying now, take a stand, lend a hand. "
The staff are excited for the future of the youth mentorship program and will continue to program it meaningfully and creatively. On behalf of the children served in this program, Mount Airy Parks and Recreation
thanks NRPA for this grant opportunity and the difference that it has made in the community.
- Cathy Cloukey, Assistant Director for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation

PHOTO COURTESY OF KIM WILSON

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JAIMI SCOTT

Virtual Mentorship Program Yields Great Rewards

Mount Airy Parks and Recreation hosts virtual and inperson group mentoring activities, such as Easter egg
hunts and Black History Month Zoom presentations.

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June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

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June 2021 - Cover3
June 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com