Family Support Services is looking for mentors to work with fifth-10th grades students in the 79107 school district area. This relatively new mentoring project. which began in February, is an extension of the mentoring services the FSS staff provided.

"We've been mentoring kids throughout the existence (of FSS)," said Linley Laster, FSS mentoring project coordinator. "This program extends that because this is giving of people outside (of FSS) to make a difference in young peoples' lives."

The program focuses on students living in the 79107 zip code because they may be a greater risk for illicit behavior and more susceptible to repeat the cycle of poverty.

"These kids are more likely to have gang affiliation and drug and alcohol affiliation," Laster said. "A lot of their families are lower income, they often have parents that are incarcerated; there's a lot of poverty and broken homes."

Being a mentor at FSS means outings, games, sports, or help with homework -- any form of good, quality time.

"I want them to have a desire to have an impact in these kids' lives. I want them to be passionate and willing to do this," Laster said of the desired mentors.

Mentors are required to be available at least one hour a month, but most mentors commit to more time. While there are no educational background requirements, a thorough background check must be passed. Once approved, training will be provided by FSS.

Laster said she is reaching out to businesses, sports organizations and individuals to support these children in Amarillo.

"I want to take everybody that I can in order to help these kids," she said. "There's so many benefits to having a mentor and being a mentee. For mentors ... it shows that accountability and for students ... they need that positive role model in their life."

Laster said that a good mentor-mentee relationship can have a lasting, positive impact on a child's life.

"It is shown that (students) do a lot better in school and they're way more likely to take on a leadership role" she said. "These mentors are getting them out of the house and showing them that they do matter and that they have a place in this world."

For more information or to apply, email Laster at llaster@fss-ama.org.