Education — The new nonprofit group Newberg Mentors will hold an open training session for interested adults in the community Dec. 8

As the husband of a Newberg High School teacher, local resident Shawn Anderson knew there were children and teens in the community who needed more support in their lives.

When Anderson began researching the situation, he found that a high percentage of youth in Newberg are being raised in single-parent (more than 15 percent), divorced (more than 10 percent) or fatherless (more than 10 percent) homes.

As a life coach to fathers and couples at the Northwest Marriage Institute in Vancouver, Wash., Anderson not only knew that mentoring was a possible solution to the problem but that he was in a position to do something about it.

That’s why he founded Newberg Mentors, a new nonprofit organization that aims to provide social and emotional support for youth in the area.

“I saw a need as I was talking to people in the community,” Anderson said. “It was obvious that there were kids that needed a mentor, that needed an adult in their life that could help them work through some things.”

Perhaps more importantly, Anderson knew that mentoring was a simple and effective tool that has been proven to improve young people’s lives. All it takes from a mentor is about one hour a week for three or four times a month to see significant changes.

“That’s enough to reduce their risk of alcohol and substance abuse,” Anderson said. “It increases their self esteem and their academic functioning. Violence is reduced. The way they get along with their parents is improved just by having a caring adult in their life.”

Newberg Mentors has already held a mentor-training session with George Fox University students and will host an open session for adults in the community from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at 501 N. Edwards St. Participants will be presented with information on adolescence, basic communication techniques for mentors, domestic violence and suicide prevention.

“So we say to just be a friend to them,” Anderson said. “There’s not an agenda. You can take them out for coffee, do sports with them, do fun things with them in a public environment and just let them know that you care.”

Anderson is working to establish the connections with groups and organizations, like Newberg School District counselors, that will provide referrals while at the same time building up a corps of volunteers. He is also actively pursuing grants to fund and improve the program.

“I don’t know how many kids could benefit from this,” Anderson said. “We’re targeting kids who are referred as maybe being at risk, but any student can benefit from mentoring. It could be someone who’s just struggling academically and their home life is fine. We want to grow to the point where we’re meeting the need.”

For more information, call 503-453-7967 or visit

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