Youngsters get early start on future

MINGO JUNCTION – It’s never too early to start planning for the future.

That’s the message that 30 Indian Creek eighth-graders are receiving once a month through Wal-Mart’s Mi Futuro program. According to Principal John Belt, Wal-Mart approached the school and wanted to implement the program this year.

“Wal-Mart’s goal is to target eighth-grade students to get them thinking about long-term goals and to plant the seed early about the importance of education,” he said.

Wal-Mart started the youth mentoring program in 2009. Associates from Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club locations build partnerships with local elementary and junior high schools to mentor students. Mi Futuro was created to improve the future for the next generation, regardless of race, economic status, background or upbringing and reinforces that hard work and education lead to a better future, according to officials.

“The Mi Futuro team mentors these students in one-hour monthly mentoring sessions held at the school,” Belt explained. “All interaction will takes place school grounds under the direct supervision of school staff. Each session includes a 15-minute testimonial from a community professional as well as 45 minutes of a small group exercise focusing on the monthly topic.”

The schedule for the remainder of the school year will include planning for the future in November; education choices and tradeoffs in December; college programs and requirements in January; paying for college in February; preparing for the ninth grade in March; my promise to myself in April; and graduation and beyond in May.

The students were recommended by the staff to participate in the program, Belt said. They are Shawn Allen, Dustin Andrews, Kristen Boilegh, Frank Hague, Stone Harding, Savonnah Pavlic, Sarah Allen, Shayna Davis, Nathaniel Jones, Tyler Porter, Anthony Bay, Gage Ziarko, Samantha Robinson, Hunter Adkins, Sierra Homal, Nick Crawford, Mya Thompson, Kelsey Lewis, Christa Young, Paige Hilderbrand, Rachael Cooper, Bret Blame, Bruce Mahklevich, Chyanne Rowe, Evan Coppa, Marlana Reas, Ally Johnson, Arion Soshi, Austin Yiach and Caroline Milick.

Shawn Allen, Thompson and Crawford all are enjoying the program so far.

“We talked about what we want to be when we grow up at our meeting in September,” Crawford said.

“It made us think about what kind of careers are out there and what would be the best fit for us in the future,” Thompson added.

Allen noted that if playing in the NFL or NBA doesn’t work out, he is interested in working for the FBI.

“College is still far off, but this course makes us think about it,” he said. “If I’m not playing sports then I’d like to be a secret agent.”

The program’s mission is to motivate eighth-graders to begin planning for future accomplishments; to engage a wide base of Wal-Mart stores, logistics and Sam’s Club management associates in the corporate mission to create opportunities so people can live better; and to empower students that, regardless of their background, this future is possible through education and hard work.

Seven mentors, all of which are Wal-Mart employees, are currently working with the students.