Chronic absence, the missing of 10% or more of a school year, is an indicator of both poor school performance and an early indicator of dropping out of high school. Those most at risk of chronic absence include low-income, homeless, and transient students and often include children with parents in prison.
These groups of kids are the ones least able to afford to miss school, and the most at risk to do so. The staff of Seedling’s Mentor Program believe that the simple act of having a mentor spend time with a child for a short time each week can act as a strong deterrent to truancy, and motivates them to keep attending school.
Students with mentors do better in school and attend class more often.
A mentor can foster a culture of attendance in such an easy and fun way, which is especially important as we begin a new school year. Absenteeism is a damaging, yet often overlooked, factor in personal and educational and development, and a mentor is one of many ways that communities can get involved and help their local schools.
Having a mentor is powerful. By becoming a mentor, you can help a child find a way out of the cycles of poverty and imprisonment, just by visiting with them, chatting, or playing a game. You can learn more about Attendance Awareness Month at AttendanceWorks.org and more about the school based, research driven Seedling’s Mentor Program
-Adrian Smith, Seedling Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator