Fw: New statewide child mentoring program

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Looking to help youth in the community?





Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and former Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder pitched a new Web site Monday that is expected to clarify the challenge faced by a new statewide child mentoring program.

Both asked during a Statehouse news conference for leaders of community, school, business and faith-based organizations working with children to register on the site — www.ksmentors.ks.gov — so Kansas Mentors could document support programs that are in place and identify areas of need in Kansas.

“We have too many children in Kansas who really need a caring adult role model and who need some encouraging words and someone involved in their lives who is promoting success,” Sebelius said.

Snyder, who retired last year as K-State’s football coach, is leading the program for the governor. Sixty-two of the state’s 105 counties have registered programs with the state, but increased publicity about the site should allow others to make their presence known.

“The ultimate goal is to provide an opportunity for quality, caring mentoring for every youngster in Kansas,” Snyder said. “It’s going to take a little time for it to come to fruition.”

The Senate included in a budget bill $250,000 that Sebelius requested for the program, but House members pulled funding from its version of the bill.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, said some House members were uncomfortable with a lack of details about the mentoring initiative.

“As stewards of the state’s money, we’re supposed to know how the money is to be spent,” she said.

Anthony S. Bush/The Capital-Journal

Former Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder, chairman of Kansas Mentors, introduces the organization’s new Web site with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Monday in her office at the Statehouse. The two hope the site, www.ksmentors.ks.gov, helps foster a statewide partnership.Governor, ex-coach tout online coalition

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Sebelius said she was optimistic legislators eventually would understand the potential of a statewide mentoring partnership. However, she said, there is an alternative to state funding.

“If, at the end of the day, they decide not to fund it, I’m happy to go out and find private funders who will do just that,” Sebelius said. “I feel very strongly that this is an important way to help children.”

Tim Carpenter can be

reached at 296-3005 or

tim.carpenter@cjonline.com.

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