2006-03-17 / Education

USC student takes JUMP to heart

By Anne-Kathryn Bultman

Amber Guyton, a USC student and mentor with JUMP in Richland School District One, spends time with her friend Monique.
Amber Guyton, a USC student and mentor with JUMP in Richland School District One, spends time with her friend Monique.

Free time is rare for college students. Most have to fit classes, a job, studying, and sleeping into a 24-hour day. Amber Guyton, a sophomore at USC, managed to find time for one more activity.

Guyton chose JUMP (Junior Mentoring Program), a mentoring program with Richland School District One, which matches caring and compassionate adults with children at local schools.

Guyton's friends, Ada Owens and Ashley Glenn, project partners with JUMP, told her there were a number of kids who did not have a mentor.

The comment sparked Guyton's interest, so she filled out an application and since October has been the mentor to ten-year-old Monique. Guyton's friend, Latanya Johnson, is a mentor to Monique's twin sister Tabitha.

Guyton visits Monique at school and calls her on the phone. One of Monique's favorite things is basketball, so over USC's winter break Amber took her to a game. They also enjoy going to the movies.

"Most people think you have to spend a lot of money on the activities, but you would be surprised at how many free things there are to do. The JUMP Program also provides free activities as well. The most important thing is just to spend time together," said Guyton.

Mentors commit one year to the JUMP Program, but Guyton thinks her relationship with Monique will continue well beyond that. Amber plans to be a mentor until she graduates.

"I didn't think of this as a short term commitment. I didn't want to enter her life and then leave. I hope to have an influence on her so that she can grow and do well in life," Guyton said.

For more information about JUMP, contact Katy Watkins, Volunteer and Mentoring Programs Coordinator, at 231-7511.

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