• Partners in Education

  • Read Across America

    Each year in March, the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce/Partners in Education and the Kershaw County School District sponsor Read Across America Day in conjunction with the observation of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. For this program, community leaders, business leaders, and parents are encouraged to volunteer and visit classrooms to read to children in our 11 elementary schools. 

    The actual program involves volunteers going to their assigned school and reading a Dr. Seuss book to one (or more) groups of students. The school has books available in the office or media center for volunteers to use. The children really enjoy this program and look forward to it each year. For more information, please contact the Chamber at (803) 432-2525.

    Partners In Education

    Partners in Education (PIE) is a Chamber committee consisting of local Business and Education Partners focused on ensuring that all students leave school with the academic, technical and employability skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century workplace.

    Business people and educators work together to ensure that today's students are prepared with the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. PIE programs are aimed at bringing educators, business people, and students together to work toward common goals. 

    To accomplish this goal PIE has shifted its focus to concentrate on implementing a successful mentoring program within the Kershaw County School District. Mentoring can be defined as a one-to-one relationship between a youth and an adult that occurs over a prolonged period of time. The mentor provides consistent support, guidance, and concrete help to a student who is in need of a positive role model. Students involved in the mentoring program may be going through a difficult and/or challenging situation, a period of life in which they need extra support, or they may simply need to have another significant adult present in their life. The goal of student mentoring is to help students involved in the program to gain the skills and confidence to be responsible for their own futures.

    Any adult interested in becoming a student mentor must be someone who will be a positive influence in a child’s life. The most crucial role for a student mentor is to be an adult who has time for a child, who cares about that child, who believes in that child, and is committed to a long term relationship with the child. Stability is key, therefore, the district asks that a student mentor spend a minimum of 45 minutes every week with their child. This relationship between the student and mentor takes place during the school day at the child’s school.

    A "Good Mentor" is someone who:

    • Engages in a positive relationship with the child.
    • Gives attention to the child.
    • Reacts well to stressful situations.
    • Tolerates frustrating situations.
    • Listens well.
    • Communicates on a level that the child can understand.
    • Is stable.
    • Provides leadership.
    • Is a positive role model.
    • Has an outstanding record of employment.
    • Does not engage in alcohol or drug abuse.
    • Meets on weekly basis with the mentee
    • Shows up on time for sessions.
    • Does NOT have a criminal record.
    • Is willing to serve a minimum of one year in the program, hopefully more than that!
    • Cares about helping a needy child.
    • Is not a judgmental person.
    • Is committed.
    • Nurtures a relationship that respects the child’s dignity.
    • Accepts responsibilities.
    • Reinforces student’s success.

    The Mentor should not expect to:

    • Replace the role of a parent/guardian.
    • Expect dramatic changes in attitude, self-esteem or attendance quickly. Mentoring is a process that takes time!
    • Provide solutions to all the issues facing student.
    • Break the trust they have established, unless it is life threatening to the student.

    Students benefit by:

    1. Receiving the support and guidance of a caring adult.
    2. Receiving assistance with academic endeavors.
    3. Experiencing greater self-esteem and motivation to succeed.
    4. Receiving encouragement to stay in school and graduate.
    5. Receiving encouragement to avoid the use of drugs and alcohol.
    6. Improving interpersonal relationships, such as with teachers and family.
    7. Receiving assistance in choosing a career path.

    Adult mentors benefit by:

    1. Increasing their involvement in the community.
    2. Recognizing they can make a difference.
    3. Making a new friend.
    4. Gaining new experience and knowledge about youth and the community’s schools.
    5. Contribute to the quality of the future workforce

    Business and Organizations benefit by:

    1. Fostering good community relations.
    2. Contributing to the quality of the future workforce.
    3. Improving employee morale.
    4. Enhancing employee skills.

    Schools benefit by:

    1. Improving student performance.
    2. Improving student attendance.
    3. Increasing student retention.

    It is believed that a successful mentoring program will lead to increased graduation rates among at-risk students. For more information about becoming a mentor, contact the United Way of Kershaw County today at (803) 432-0951.