CrossTrainers mentoring program bring the fun to children in need

cross trainers

By Christina von Mehren

In​ ​a​ ​world​ ​full​ ​of​ ​poverty​ ​there​ ​is​ ​still​ ​time​ ​for​ ​fun.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​mission​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Wesley​ ​ministry program,​ ​Cross​Trainers.

Cross​Trainers​ ​is​ ​a​ ​mentorship​ ​program​ ​which​ ​pairs​ ​participating​ ​students​ ​within​ ​Wesley​ ​with​ ​a child​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Athens​ ​and​ ​Watkinsville​ ​area.​ ​The​ ​children​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​program​ ​come​ ​from impoverished​ ​families.​ ​The​ ​families​ ​the​ ​children​ ​belong​ ​to​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​give​ ​their​ ​kids​ ​the care​ ​or​ ​attention​ ​they​ ​need.

Mentors​ ​are​ ​required​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​up​ ​with​ ​their​ ​children​ ​weekly.​ ​The​ ​requirement​ ​is​ ​necessary​ ​in order​ ​to​ ​show​ ​the​ ​children​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​responsible​ ​adult​ ​out​ ​there​ ​that​ ​can​ ​serve​ ​as​ ​a​ ​constant in​ ​their​ ​life.​ ​“We​ ​want​ ​to​ ​show​ ​the​ ​children​ ​that​ ​they​ ​can​ ​depend​ ​on​ ​their​ ​mentor​ ​to​ ​be​ ​there,” co-director,​ ​Melissa​ ​DeRamus said.

Baking​ ​cookies,​ ​going​ ​to​ ​a​ ​park,​ ​or​ ​doing​ ​arts​ ​and​ ​crafts​ ​are​ ​just​ ​some​ ​examples​ ​of​ ​the​ ​weekly activities​ ​mentors​ ​and​ ​mentees​ ​are​ ​able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​together​ ​through​ ​the​ ​program.

“The​ ​real​ ​purpose​ ​behind​ ​this​ ​organization​ ​is​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​healthy​ ​relationship​ ​for​ ​these​ ​children. We​ ​want​ ​them​ ​to​ ​know​ ​that​ ​despite​ ​their​ ​family​ ​situations,​ ​there​ ​are​ ​people​ ​out​ ​there​ ​who​ ​care for​ ​them,”​ ​​co-director,​ ​Meg​ ​Gray said.

Cross​ Trainers​ ​also​ ​aims​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​the​ ​children​ ​to​ ​do​ ​things​ ​they​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​given​ ​their family​ ​situation.​ ​Many​ ​of​ ​the​ ​children​ ​are​ ​not​ ​able​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​leisure​ ​activities​ ​like​ ​going​ ​to​ ​an arcade,​ ​a​ ​skating​ ​rink,​ ​or​ ​bowling​ ​due​ ​to​ ​financial​ ​constraints​ ​of​ ​the​ ​families.​ ​Cross​​Trainers helps​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​these​ ​children​ ​to​ ​experience​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this​ ​and​ ​more.

The​ ​whole​ ​organization​ ​got​ ​together​ ​for​ ​their​ ​annual​ ​skate​ ​night,​ ​held​ ​at​ ​an​ ​Athens​ ​skating​ ​rink on​ ​Tuesday.​ ​The​ ​skate​ ​night​ ​serves​ ​to​ ​kick​ ​off​ ​the​ ​program​ ​and​ ​get​ ​everyone​ ​excited​ ​about​ ​the new​ ​year.​ ​The​ ​skate​ ​night​ ​takes​ ​months​ ​to​ ​coordinate​ ​and​ ​is​ ​just​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​many​ ​events​ ​thrown by​ ​Cross​​Trainers.

The​ ​main​ ​goal​ ​for​ ​the​ ​skate​ ​night​ ​is​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​bond​ ​between​ ​mentor​ ​and​ ​mentee​ ​in​ ​a​ ​fun environment.​ ​The​ ​kids​ ​spend​ ​hours​ ​with​ ​their​ ​new​ ​mentors​ ​doing​ ​something​ ​that​ ​they​ ​may​ ​not have​ ​been​ ​able​ ​to​ ​do​ ​otherwise.

“It​ ​was​ ​my​ ​third​ ​time​ ​hanging​ ​out​ ​with​ ​my​ ​mentee,​ ​Murtina.​ ​We​ ​both​ ​weren’t​ ​great​ ​at​ ​skating, but​ ​falling​ ​down​ ​together​ ​and​ ​getting​ ​back​ ​up​ ​multiple​ ​times​ ​created​ ​a​ ​great​ ​bond​ ​for​ ​us,”​ ​mentor​ ​Liza​ ​Brittain said.

The​ ​fun​ ​night​ ​finished​ ​with​ ​pizza​ ​and​ ​arcade​ ​games.

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