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Mentors step forward for pilot porgram
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Peter Gale, who is spearheading the MUSD Mentor Match pilot program, talks with the group gathered at the first-ever session Monday in the Manteca High library. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Kathleen Belcher has found her inspiration in mentoring.
She’s taught Nursing at Delta College, where, for the past 15 years, Belcher has been able to share her knowledge in that field based on her experience of working at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton.
No surprise that Belcher, who resides in Woodbridge-Del Webb, wanted to be part of the newly established Manteca Unified School District Mentor Match.
She became aware of the pilot program that connects high school students with willing mentors in the community via Del Webb’s “Next Door” website under the direction of Kathy Howe – incidentally, her husband Steve Howe, a retired counselor who last worked at Sierra High, was also one of the Mentor Match volunteers along with the retired principal of that school Rick Arucan.
“We’re all here in an attempt to address a need,” said Arucan, who reunited with Steve Howe to provide nuggets of information to this small group interested in attaining college scholarships.
“Be a squeaky wheel with your counselor,” he added. “All three (in Howe’s group) want to go to college – our advice was for them to ask their counselor on what (scholarships) will work for them.”
According to Peter Gale, who is the mediator for the inaugural MUSD Mentor Match – he’s also the district’s Coordinator of Instructional Technology / Media Publication – this first gathering of the group at the Manteca High School library was sparsely attended. Sixty-one students signed up for the program but only 10 showed up on Monday.
Ditto that for the mentors where eight of the 13 volunteers were in attendance.
Getting the word out to students coupled with their involvement with afterschool sports and other extracurricular activities may have coincided with this first-ever session. Sessions are planned again for the MHS library on March 14, April 11, and May 2, from 3 to 4 p.m.
For students, they’re matched with mentors who can be the voice of experience on getting into college or a job.
“Try to do volunteer work,” said Belcher to those looking to get into some health care fields. In this case, she worked with freshman Hannah Gonzales and junior Alejandra Villanueva-Diaz.
Both expressed an interest in the area of Heath Care.
For a new program, Gale, who previously taught at Lathrop High and Tracy Unified, was thrilled with the positive energy on this initial gathering.
“I could see the potential,” he said. “The time flew by, people were engaged, and there was a good exchange of dialogue from both sides.”
For more information on the MUSD Mentor Match, call the district office at 209.825.3200 or log on to