COACH Kids Honors Mentors of the Year

COACH Kids Executive Director Susan Grasham, right, stands with her Mentors of the Year, Mike Lanum, left, and Jen Johnson, middle.

COACH Kids held their annual banquet Tuesday night to Celebrate Mentoring on the patio at Arborwood. A big part of the event was to honor the two Mentors of the Year — Mike Lanum and Jen Johnson.

Lanum, a retired firefighter who has mentored for over five years, was named as the Local Heroes Mentor of the Year, while Johnson, a Department of Child Services employee who had made a big difference in her mentee’s life this year, was named as the Community Hope Mentor of the Year.

Lanum was asked what his advice would be is someone is considering mentoring, but not totally sure about it.

“You got to have a caring for it. You have to want to do it,” said Lanum. “You see so many kids out there that need a little help. They look to an adult for that help. God gave us one mouth and two ears and the main thing is to sit there and listen to them.”

Johnson talks about how much being a mentor has changed her life.

“I think for me what’s been a really awesome unintended blessing is being paired with my mentee gave me the realization of not to be busy,” said Johnson. “I spend a couple of mornings a month with her. We spend every other Saturday morning together and we do a couple of things throughout the month. I’m not busy when I’m with her and it’s some of the best time that I have. It’s one commitment that I signed up for but in a weird way it made me less busy.”

COACH Kids Executive Director Susan Grasham said there are 142 kids currently in the program, but they have a waiting list of 46. She was asked how important it is to find mentors for kids who are on the waiting list.

“For us, we have got kids waiting,” said Grasham. “We have 13 kids in the Community Hope program and some of them have been waiting for more than a year. And, kids don’t sit around and wait to make better decisions. They do what they can with what they have. So, in that year, who knows what’s happening in that kids’ life and that year. It’s urgent. Those kids need someone in their lives to help them make a better decision.”

The 2017 COACH Kids Board of Directors are Jo Ellen Clark, Lisa Ford, Tim Grasham, Jeff Hardesty, Joyce Jacobs Chad Kozuch, Kelly Kurth, Pat McIlrath, Joel McKinney, Cheryl Pass, Judy Pears