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, CrossTrainers.
CrossTrainers 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. CrossTrainers 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 CrossTrainers.
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.