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Since 1996 the Golden Eagle Education Foundation has been matching Fountain Hills Unified School District students with Fountain Hills residents as part of their mentorship program.

September marks the kick-off of the GEEF’s mentorship program each year, which provides support to all types of students.

“The program isn’t just for a student who needs help academically,” explained Dr. Jeannie Ryan, the vice president of GEEF. “Many of our students are being mentored because they are doing well in school and they need an additional challenge.”

While there is a big variety in the types of students who seek out mentors each year, Ryan said that the pool of mentors at GEEF is just as diverse and that the foundation considers those backgrounds and needs.

“When we look at the mentors, we look at their expertise and say, ‘okay, this person was a second grade teacher so they are probably going to do very well with a student at McDowell Mountain and maybe one that is struggling with academics,’” Ryan said. “For example, we have a former engineer who has mentored with us for over 20 years. He’ll mentor students that are excelling and they will work on a special project together.”

All mentoring happens during the school hours with sessions lasting one hour. According to Ryan, some mentors will choose to work with multiple students and some will even follow a student as they advance through school.

All mentors take a two-hour training session and go through a background check.

For those interested in becoming a mentor, go online to fhgeef.org or email Ryan at ryanjmst@aol.com.