New Compass Program for Youth

Compass Logo final croppedEvery new school year brings the promise of a fresh start; an opportunity to meet new friends, join a fun organization, and overall reinvent yourself. Here at Cortland Prevention Resources, we are excited for this new school year with the introduction of Compass, an expansion of the former Homework Help program.

SUNY Cortland mentor Heather Gatling and local student Victoria Lent worked together for over two years until Heather graduated from college.
SUNY Cortland mentor Heather Gatling and local student Victoria Lent worked together for over two years until Heather graduated from college.

The Compass program pairs up youth grades 5-12 with a college student mentor to encourage social interactions, teach positive character traits, as well as provide academic support. Compass is truly a great opportunity for youth to grow and develop with the help of a positive role model.  “I’m really excited to get the program started, I’m even more excited to see the growth and development of our youth over this semester,” said program facilitator Brad Allen.

During the fall 2015 semester, the youth and their mentors will be involved in many different activities that promote social, physical, and emotional well-being. This addition of pro-social themed activities is the biggest revision to the former Homework Help program, which had existed since 2009.

Mentors and youth will have ample opportunities to bond, whether through studying, reading a book or just hanging out and having a conversation. The majority of enrolled youth have expressed that they are especially excited for the chance to spend time with a young adult that really cares about them. We all know it can be difficult for adolescents and older teenagers to share what they are feeling, but having an adult who is not a parent or a teacher can help them open up.

The youth are not the only ones to benefit from this mentoring program. The college students will gain great experience as they prepare for careers in Psychology, Social Work, and other human services fields. The opportunity to work and interact one-on-one with another person, especially a child, can provide a chance for them to put theory into practice.  “We are excited to continue our partnership with SUNY Cortland, it is such an amazing opportunity for youth of this community to experience the welcoming atmosphere of our local college. It is mutually beneficially for our local college students to interact with youth from our community,” said Linnay Harmer who also facilitates the program.

Compass will take place Tuesday nights, starting September 15 and will continue until December 8. All sessions run from 6:00pm to 8:00pm and are held on the SUNY Cortland campus. To sign up please contact program facilitators, Linnay Harmer or Brad Allen at Cortland Prevention Resources via phone (607) 756-8970 or email or The deadline to register is Monday, September 14.