LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - For the last 18 months, Louisville's been paying city workers to volunteer. 

Michael Gritton, who heads up KentuckianaWorks, is part of the program called Metro Mentors. He mentors Troy McLemore. 

"He's a great kid who may have made a couple of mistakes but really wants to do the right thing," Gritton said about the teen, who's a summer worker at Oxmoor Farm with the food literacy project. 

"I've always wanted to learn to grow my own vegetables," McLemore told WDRB News. 

Mayor Fischer launched the Metro Mentors program about 18 months ago. It allows any city employee to take two hours away from the office while being paid each week to volunteer with an approved program, like Big Brothers Big Sisters

"We bring them into a work situation so they know there are good jobs out here but you got to prepare yourself," said Pandora Martin, a Metro Louisville Finance employee. 

Robin Berry is also a mentor. She works in the Metro Louisville Open Records department.

 "She is the nicest sweetest person. She makes me want to be better," Berry said about her mentee. 

In McLemore's case, the program can serve as a right turn for young people who have fallen into the juvenile justice system. 

"He is working hard to graduate. He's only one semester behind. So he's on track to graduate in December. We're going next week to JCTC. He's interested in their automotive technology program," Gritton said. 

Like many other youth orientated services in Louisville, Metro Mentors needs more participation. Fewer than 160 of 6,000 city workers volunteer for the program. 

"The best way to get more people involved in mentoring is talk to somebody who is a mentor and hear the excitement they have in turning a life around," Mayor Fischer said. 

There's a renewed effort to recruit through personal testimony. 

"It's been a real eye opener for me just to meet a kid that comes from a difference circumstance than I live in, in the Highlands," Gritton told WDRB News.  

Metro Mentors is not getting time off. It's putting time in to people who need it the most. 

"When I saw how much he cared about me, it motivated me," McLemore said. 

For more information about the Metro Mentors Program, click here

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