SYSK: Kathy Schwartzhoff matches mentors and mentees - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: Kathy Schwartzhoff matches mentors and mentees

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DECORAH (KWWL) -

Kathy Schwartzhoff is the mentoring coordinator for Helping Services in northeast Iowa.

Schwartzhoff matches children ages five to 16 with positive role models in for Allamakee, Howard and Winneshiek counties.

"It is that idea there is somebody else that watches out for you, that you can confide in and get another perspective from and really all kids benefit from that," Kathy Schwartzhoff said.

Being a mentor through Helping Services requires spending at least four hours a month with a mentee for a commitment of one year.

"We encourage someone with their mentee to do something they already do. If it's gardening that is their passion, take the kid with them. If it's going to the races, take the child with them. Do those things they're already doing," Schwartzhoff said.

Schwartzhoff started with Helping Services 21 years ago and moved to the mentoring side 14 years ago. She's dedicated to matching students and adults because of the positive impact it has on the children's lives.

Kathy said a survey of children in this specific program found 32 percent had an increase in caring for others; 20 percent had increased confidence and 45 percent had an increase in saying no to risky behaviors, including drugs and alcohol.

"I'd say if you're even thinking about it, do it now. Many people come to us saying I've been thinking about this for three years. Well, that's three years a youth hasn't had somebody," Schwartzhoff said.

There are 31 pairs in Kathy Schwartzhoff's three county area. Kathy was previously a mentor herself for a girl in a county outside of her work area.

But even without being a mentor herself anymore, Kathy is helping to improve the lives of many children by bringing positive role models into their lives.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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