January is National Mentoring Month
Wed, 01/11/2017 - 1:59pm admin
Rogne is one of those Mentors
Kim Soukup TPD Staff
"I wanted to share experiences and hobbies that I have with someone, and possibly open doors for them that may have not been opened otherwise." Marshall Rogne
CRESCO - January is National Mentoring Month. Through Youth Mentoring, 119 local youth have a mentor. Howard County has many active and dedicated mentors; one of which is Cresco resident Marshall Rogne.
Rogne may be better known as the Executive Director of Veterans Affairs and Director of Environmental Health to county residents, but to mentee, Christian, Rogne is bigger and better than that . . . he is his mentor.
Rogne has been mentoring Christian for nearly a year now, and it all started when Rogne moved to Cresco and was looking for a program where he could make a contribution to young people.
“I was looking to participate in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program and e-mailed a representative from that program in Waterloo to get things going,” he said. “What I got back from them was that they didn’t have a program in Howard County. Then about a year later I saw an ad in the local paper for the Youth Mentoring Program at Helping Services for Northeast Iowa, so I contacted them.”
Why become a mentor? For Rogne, it was simple — a desire to help youth and promote a healthy lifestyle.
“I know every kid’s situation is different,” he explained. “Some come from really stable homes and others don’t. Kids in the mentoring program come from both. I wanted to share experiences and hobbies that I have with someone, and possibly open doors for them that may have not been opened otherwise.”
The steps to become a mentor are fairly simple. Apply, interview and pass a background check. After that the fun begins with the matching process.
“You put down what you like to do in your free time and your strong points,” said Rogne. “Those points and answers are then compared to the available mentees’ likes and strong points, and then they share the applications from children who may be good matches. I was matched with three boys, one from Cresco, one from Ridgeway and another from Decorah.”
The final match for Rogne, was Christian, a 10-year old from Decorah.
“Christian and I both enjoy outdoor activities, bikes and video games,” noted Rogne. “On his application, he wanted someone who had information about the military and the Army.”
One of the first things Christian said to Rogne when he met him was, “Were you in the Army?” He answered “yes,” and things took off from there!
Rogne and Christian meet monthly. Occasionally it may be more often, depending on the time of year and what is going on. Rogne shared that it has been little bit more difficult for the two of them to find things to do in the winter months.
“We did go hunting this winter,” he shared, smiling. “Hunting really opened Christian’s eyes and was a great opportunity for us together. He really liked that. He helped me spot deer and by the end of the day he was telling me which ones to shoot.”
Rewards are just as evident and available when becoming a mentor.
“There is a lot of personal rewards to being a mentor,” Rogne acknowledged. “Knowing you are helping a child grow and them learning that they can be be a more positive influence to others is part of the reward. Through mentoring I also found out that I still have a lot of kid in me. When we do things together it is fun and I look forward to the next time.”
There are still children on the waitlist for mentoring at Helping Services for Northeast Iowa and you can find out more about Youth Mentoring Services by calling: 563-387-1720.
For those thinking about mentoring Rogne had the following advice: “Don’t ever close the door on mentoring. Some of your experiences in life could help influence a mentee’s life path.”