An ambitious plan is underway in the Wichita Falls Independent School District. WFISD Board President Rev. Reginald Blow is launching a program called Partners For Life. The idea is to match troubled youth with a mentor. To find the mentor, Blow is reaching out to Texoma places of worship.
"It is not fair to make teachers do everything with our students. To be parents, to be police and still teach.", Blow said. The plan is to draw on the life experience of mentors to help bridge a gap Blow says money can't. "I'm not talking about making Baptists or Catholics or Methodists out of anybody, I'm talking about using the resources of the Church to come in and make a difference in Education.", he said. "Bottom line, this is the role I see the Churches playing, not coming in and teaching Calculus or Math or patrolling the halls... life lessons! Period. So that they can compete and make it.", he said.
Blow says the students should respond well to the helping hand. "You know, anybody will respond to kindness what these kids are looking for today is they are starving to death for attention.", he said.
Blow is not worried about critics of involving church members with the WFISD. He says it is not about religion, but rather positive encouragement. "We're not trying to get anybody to Heaven, we're just trying to get them to act right down here." He says the outreach to places of worship is to find upstanding people with life experience.
While making his case for the program, Blow cites an interesting coincidence. He recently underwent open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. His surgeon's mother was in the first graduating class at Rider High School. He says that is evidence that setting Texoma youth on the right path is important for future generations.