GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — We all have people who have made a difference in our lives. Affinity Mentoring is looking for role models like that for children in Grand Rapids and Wyoming.

More than 100 kids in Grand Rapids Public Schools and Godfrey Lee Public Schools are on the waitlist.

Affinity partners with the following schools:

  • Southwest Elementary Academic Bilingue (GRPS)
  • Burton Elementary School (GRPS)
  • Burton Middle School (GRPS)
  • Godfrey Lee Early Childhood Center (GLPS)
  • Godfrey Elementary School (GLPS)

Rocio Moreno, the nonprofit’s interim executive director, said the organization is still recovering from losing mentors during the pandemic.

Two women who continued along with it following the disruption became mentors to get more involved in the community.

“I don’t know what people are waiting for. I get so much out of it,” Morgan Hicks said.

Morgan Hicks doing an activity with her mentee.

Hicks works full-time at Kent District Library. She’s been mentoring for about four years. Currently, she mentors a young girl in the 3rd grade.

“She and I get along perfectly. I appreciate the match. I think I laugh just as much as she does. It’s a great relationship,” Hicks said.

Maura Lamoreaux is employed with the Kent County Road Commission. She’s mentored three different girls in the eight years that she’s been with Affinity Mentoring.

She believes it’s important for kids to have extra support and stability.

“Sometimes we forget it can be stressful to be a student. It can be stressful to be a child. I learned how important it is just to be there and give them that positive push,” she said.

Volunteers will dedicate an hour once a week to mentor the child. This could include eating lunch together, helping with math and literacy, or simply just listening.

“It could be a great way for your entire company to get involved if your human resources department wants to talk about having something that you do company-wide and not just each person,” Hicks said.

If you’re interested, you will have to apply and go through an interview process. When you pass that, you are matched with a child who has similar interests and hobbies as you.

“If someone comes just once, I think they’ll be hooked. Sometimes commitment is hard, but for someone like me or adults who are busy to me, this is such an easy way to donate one hour of your time,” Lamoreaux said.

Godfrey Lee Early Childhood Center has the greatest need right now. According to the site, there are about 20 students on the waiting list, with more added on.

“Across the board, all mentor centers are in need of additional mentors, especially males and people of color,” Moreno said.

The nonprofit will have a virtual event, ‘Cuentos y Comida: Stories and Sustenance’ on Oct. 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., where you can learn more about mentorship.

Staff are looking for volunteers, donors and sponsors to connect with the Affinity community. Proceeds fund programming.

To become a mentor, sponsor or donor, you can visit Affinity Mentoring.