Written by Maria Malloy, Youth Programs Manager at Thrive. Article also published in Montana Parent Magazine (October, 2017 Edition.)
Where did the word mentor first come from? The word first appeared in the Greek poet Homer’s Odyssey tale. When Odysseus, the king, goes to fight in the Trojan War, he puts the care of his son to Mentor, who serves as a teacher and overseer of Telemachus, the son.
A mentor in our current language has come to mean someone who is a “trusted advisor, friend, teacher, and wise person.” Who has been a mentor in your life? Is it someone who, maybe, you didn’t think of right away as a mentor, but see that they fit the definition? Well, there are about 600 CAP mentors in our amazing Bozeman and Big Sky communities and they definitely fit the definition of mentor to hundreds of children in the Bozeman and Big Sky School Public School Districts. CAP mentors are adult community members who volunteer their time – one hour per week – to meet with a child and be their mentor. CAP stands for Child Advancement Project, and when it started in 1990 it was a way to help children advance in school for varying reasons. The program since has successfully matched thousands of adult mentors with children in order to support children in reaching their full potential.
The CAP Mentoring Program is one of the signature programs of Thrive. Through this program, mentors and their assigned students have goals to work on while they meet. These goals can encompass academics, social and enrichment needs, and interests. Most importantly, these mentors volunteer to be in our schools because they love children and our community.
When speaking about CAP we use the word mentor a lot because it has such powerful implications which so accurately describes the incredible relationship that forms when the child and volunteer come together through this program.. The relationship that forms is so incredible that the students light up when their mentors come through the school doors. So incredible that I have seen kids push through their friends to get to their mentor just to say “Hi!” The bond that forms between them is so strong that I have also seen mentors work through hard issues with the students and still have a trusting, fun and respectful relationship. However, it’s not just the students who get excited- I have even witnessed these mentors enjoy their time in the school so much that they have surprised themselves!
The Bozeman and Big Sky School Districts have been wonderful supporters and collaborators with Thrive and the CAP Program. Thrive would not have been able to be as effective without the compassionate and forward thinking staff at these school districts who truly share our vision to encourage children and families in various ways, helping them succeed in school and life.
It can be hard to put into words how remarkable the CAP mentor and mentee relationship is, but maybe this sums it up:
When you talk to someone about their involvement in the CAP Program they will undoubtedly share with you their heartfelt experience.
To apply to be a CAP mentor, click here. For more information about the CAP program, please call (406)585-7929.