Fred Mastmy may be 59, but it isn't stopping him from going back to junior high school to shoot some hoops. " I better beat him in basketball now," says Mastmy as he plays ball with his mentee Cody Gudgel." Mastmy visits Edison Middle school once a week to hang out with his new found friend. "In the last 3 to 4 weeks, all of the sudden he's starting to open up and talking like crazy."
They're part of the C U One to One mentoring program that pairs mentors with students. "it's phenomenal we saw 895 regulars coming into Champaign schools, " says mentor coordinator Brenda Koester. She says the impact on students is clear in the long run. In a study run by her office, they found 72-percent of kids improved in at least one class, 16-percent improved in three classes, and 58-percent of students decreased the number of unexcused absences.
However, Koester fears with federal money ending this year it means a cut to her staff and eventually the end to her program. " The growth they're experiencing now can't continue without the people the people that are giving a special support."
Mastmy hopes the district gives this program one more shot. " It's these kids that are barely making it but if they just got a little help and push, they can be successful."
The Champaign School Board President says tonight's meeting will just be a discussion and no action will be taken on the program. He assures parents and mentors he will fight to make sure some form of it stays in our schools.
If students graduate from the mentoring program, it gives them up to $2000 dollars for college.