Take Back Polk’s second year seeks to help 50 youth
A program connecting children who need positive and caring influences in their lives and mentors who can make a difference continues this year in middle schools in Polk County.
The Take Back Polk program launched for the second school calendar year at Cedartown and Rockmart Middle Schools, gathering more than 50 community leaders with students who are struggling in their lives for a variety of reasons.
With dozens of youth who graduated the program this past May, Hulsey said new additions have brought along new volunteers to take part and act as a role models that will challenge them to succeed. The total between the two schools for this year is 50 students in the program overall.
“The goal is to ultimately be able to add more kids, and to be able to change some of these statistics that we see that hurt their chances of being successful,” Hulsey said. “We focus on three top priorities: attendance, behavior and their grades.”
Whether it be working harder to gain top scores, or modifying behavior to get into less trouble while in the regular class setting, the ultimate goal is for youth to get the guidance they need to make good life decisions.
No major changes are in store for the program this year, though she said a slight uptick in the number of students participating.
Progress for the students in the program isn’t measured only by their grades or disciplinary record. For Hulsey and others, it has been their attitude that shows her the program is making a difference.
The program was formed last year by Hulsey for both Cedartown and Rockmart Middle Schools with the help of Sam Branch.
Additional help from the Polk School District administration to get it in place in the two schools started with mentor selections in August 2017 and moved on from there with monthly meetings between students and mentors.
Once the second year launch is completed at the end of this month, students and mentors will gather on a monthly basis, and if students meet certain goals set forth during this week they’ll get chances to take part in activities later in the year.
Hulsey said the program will likely hold off on taking any additional mentors for the time being, but that people can and have helped in other ways. For instance, when students get to take part in special programs later this year, help will be needed in other ways.
Those interested in helping the program via donations can contact Hulsey via e-mail at [email protected]