Jewish Family Service program has helped at-risk youth since 2005, but faces difficulty recruiting men to help.
- VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS
- Timothy Rath
Friday, December 28, 2012
An average young man could attempt to single-handedly take on the difficulties of adulthood without actively trying to relate to a male adult, but Jeff is no average young man. Through the Mentor Connection program, Jeff, an 18-year-old Royal Oak resident, has found comfort, information and fun with Todd Schafer, 45, of Beverly Hills, who befriended him in place of an absentee father. "To have someone there who I can talk to without needing to spell everything out is important," said Jeff, a high school senior whose last name is withheld from this story. "We really are really comfortable with each other ... he's like family I never had." For the past eight years, Jeff has been able to reach out past his friends at school and his family at …
Jewish Family Service program has helped at-risk youth since 2005, but faces difficulty due to government restructuring and economic hardship.
When they met for the first time at a local coffee shop last winter, Betsy Bodker and Kiki both seemed to be guarding their expectations for each other. Kiki, an 8-year-old from Southfield who has four brothers and sisters, shyly held on to her mother's arm as they spoke. Betsy, 45, of Pleasant Ridge, simply hoped that the two could connect in somewhat of the terrific way that she does with her three neices. Instead, they found deep, unique and valuable friendship — exactly what the Mentor Connection program that put them together hopes to achieve. "I did not expect to have the warmth for this little girl and the desire to be with her as much as I do," Bodker said. "I used to say that I could only see her twice per month 2-4 hours every …