Link ONE mentors

Link ONE mentors and their mentees spend one hour each week building a relationship that will help the student find success. 

One True Light is hoping it’s friends and supporters will give their “clicks” so they can be in the running for a grant from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program to benefit Link ONE Mentoring. 

Jill Harris, Administrative Director of One True Light, said they were one of the 200 finalists in the running to receive a $25,000 grant.

“The top 40 will receive a grant to impact their community and it will be determined by number of votes,” she said.

The voting phase is open from 12:00:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 14 until 11:59:59 p.m. ET Aug. 23, and people can vote up to 10 times per day, every day, during the time period. Winners will be announced September 25. To vote visit www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/2024576

Two of the mentors in the program made sure Harris knew about the opportunity.

“Chris Atchley and Rusty England … are current mentors with Link ONE Mentoring and both run State Farm agencies so they wanted to make sure we knew about this opportunity,” Harris said. “I submitted our application with State Farm Neighborhood Assist Program on June 5. They accept the first 2,000 applications submitted and then internally narrow it down to 200 organizations.”

Harris said this could be the most funding the organization has ever received if they can get into the top 40.

“The majority of our funding comes from donations from local individuals, churches and businesses,” she said. “We also receive grants from a few organizations each year, but if we are selected for the State Farm Grant, it would be our largest one time donation to the organization to date.”

Link ONE Mentoring is an initiative of One True Light in conjunction with Duncan Public Schools. Students are referred into the program by teachers and school administrators.

“Our mission is to link caring adults and children,” Harris said. “Our mentors are there for the children to help them learn to navigate social and academic situations. We have approximately 80 current mentors who range from 25 year old young professionals to 85 year old retirees … there is a way for almost anyone looking to pour into the next generation to get involved. We are actively seeking new mentors for the upcoming school year.”

Mentors go through a volunteer training and a background check before they are matched with a student. The pairs meet for approximately one hour each week at the school.

Harris said they have some dreams that the funding might help achieve.

“We have been dreaming for over two years of establishing a scholarship program for students who are in the Link ONE Mentoring program,” she said. “We would love to be able to assist students upon graduation from high school to pursue their future dreams, whether that be college, technical school or even with getting started with a full-time job.”

While they are still working on the details, Harris said the grant is a step in the right direction.

“We currently have over 80 students who are matched with mentors and will have 8-10 of them in High School this year,” she said. “As our students get older we want to have something in place to help them be successful beyond High School. A mentoring relationship takes effort from both the mentor and mentee and we would love to be able to reward those who stick with it throughout their time in Duncan Public Schools.”

For more information about this or to become a mentor, contact Harris at onetruelight@outlook.com or visit their Facebook page.