Henrico Public Schools is looking for volunteers to supervise students

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Henrico Public Schools is calling on all heroes to help change the life of a child.

The school division is looking for volunteers to mentor students in grades two through twelve.

“We all deserve a caring person that we can deal with in life,” said Leslie Velez, K-12 intervention specialist at Henrico Public Schools.

She says the Henrico Heroes program has been around for over a decade, but the need for volunteers and mentorship is greater than ever due to the pandemic.

From October to May, volunteers spend 40 minutes a week making personal connections with students.

Velez says the goal is to reduce youth violence, which she says continues to escalate.

“I think it’s a result of individuals not having the tools, and if they can be paired with an adult to learn different coping skills and how to manage life and deal with it, then they’re in a better situation,” Velez said.

Velez says there is a slight problem. They are struggling to recruit enough volunteers.

Velez says they serve more students than in previous years. Currently, Velez says 500 students need a mentor.

Currently, they have 70 volunteers. They’re looking for 200 in total.

“We have been through this pandemic and we have spent quite a bit of time away from individuals. And this lockdown, it really cost them,” Velez said.

Velez says volunteers must pass a background check and commit to a two-hour training.

She says they are accepting applications until the program begins in October.

“If you only have a few minutes a week and want to change the trajectory of a child’s life, then don’t hesitate to contact us,” Velez said.

Click on here for more information about the program and how to apply.

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