Metro Mentors program allows government employees to get time for giving time
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metro Louisville employees no longer have to work 40 hours a week, they get time back by giving back to the community.
The program allows all 6,000 Louisville employees to be paid while they're out of the office working to mentor a Louisville child.
"I work with the retired and senior care program as volunteer coordinator so I do timesheets and travel reimbursement for that program," mentor Michelle Nickerson explained.
For two hours every week Michelle Nickerson sets aside her city coordinator job to spend time with a Louisville teen.
"I think the impact all the mentors will make with the kids is going to be bigger than we think," Nickerson said.
Mayor Greg Fischer launched the Metro Mentor program eight weeks ago.
City employees can volunteer with an approved partner like JCPS or the boys and girls club, or right turn dealing with children who face trouble with the law.
"One of the things that I felt was really important is that the city walk the talk," Mayor Fischer said.
Louisville's problem with juvenile crime is well documented. Three teens were charged just last week with killing a cab driver.
Though so far only 60 city workers have signed up to mentor.
"I'm talking about mentors all the time, the least we can do is put our team in the community to help kids," said Fischer.
Nickerson's working with Y-Now, a program WDRB recently profiled for its work with children who pay the price for their parents crimes.
"It's really good we're hanging out and having fun," Nickerson said, describing her relationship with her mentee. "We talk a lot about school and her parents and the relationship there."
Nickerson's mentee still struggles with her parents incarceration and at the last minute asked not to be identified in this report.
Leaders say it speaks to the need for this program.
"This is not something that happens in a night, a meeting or a conversation. It is intensive for a year because that's what it takes for some of them to start talking," said Y-Now director Rebecca Hentz. "What one mentor means to that one youth is huge, huge."
Nickerson says she's not getting time off she's putting time in for the children that need it most.
"It's a really powerful experience," Nickerson said.
Interested employees should consult their supervisor if they'd like to participate in the Metro Mentors program.
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