iMatter Promotes High Self Esteem
Be Kind, Be True, Be ‘Greatful’, Be You!
This is the slogan that imatter for kids, an Elementary based mentoring program, uses.
imatter was created last year at Pierce Elementary for 4th and 5th grade students. The program is designed to develop young students into leaders and, as the title suggests, help them understand that they matter.
Founder Bob Shenefelt, a local entrepreneur, says the idea behind the program is simple.
“It’s really a character education program,” Shenefelt said.
This year the elementary kids will be paired up with high school mentors from Seaholm and Groves. In small groups they will do activities to both strengthen team building and develop leadership skills. In the program the students will participate in activities to build character and to help them look ahead to the future.
“Vision boards. ‘What will their future look like?’ Structured conversations. Goal setting. Jenga with cool questions,” Shenefelt said, listing a few of the activities in the program.
Parents are required to come to part of the meeting so they are involved in the program with their kids.
“We try to involve the family and community,” Shenefelt said. “We just had a couple parties where we get the community together, some businesses, some parents, some kids, and have fun.”
Shenefelt the pilot program was a success last year and this year Shenefelt hopes to grow the program to other elementary schools.
“We hope to have 40 to 50 students from Seaholm and Groves total. And 20 to 30 from pierce,” Shenefelt said.
He also wants to involve high school students as the mentors.
“I really want to involve the high school students into the cool evolution where they’re younger and have a little bit more creativity and energy,” Shenefelt said. “Which I think that the kids will like and it will allow me to work on character education.”
Senior Kathryn Pelton is one of the mentors who joined the program this year.
“I started volunteering because I thought it sounded like a great program and that it would be really helpful for the kids,” Pelton said. “By helping the kids, it’s making them realize that they are important and they can talk to you about anything. It gets them more comfortable in their own skin and they feel better about themselves.”
Senior Cameron Clements is also a mentor in the program.
“I started the program because he just like presented it to NHS and it just sounded like a good way to get your hours,” Clements said. “After you like get into it you realize like that it makes sense and a lot of the stuff he’s doing actually helps.”
Shenefelt claims the program has already made an impact.
“Well I know the program has affected the twenty students that went through it last year,” Shenefelt said. “It’s been a tremendous boost in confidence in communication skills, in time management of the parents, many of the parents have approached me saying this is incredible.”