October 2017 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison Photography \/\/ Submitted The Boone County Mentoring Partnership (BCMP) board and the Boone County Youth Assistance Program (YAP) board have voted to merge under one organizational umbrella and leadership. YAP will be a vital component for the organization, young people and their families, community support systems and referral sources. The two organizations are merging to strengthen the relationships and collaborations among those working with young people throughout the county. The newly merged organization will work with all the schools, local governments, volunteers and other youth services groups to ensure an engaged and invested community. Lynette Clark, the interim executive director for the Boone County YAP and director of Integrative Wellness, LLC (InWell), has worked with Matt Wilson, executive director of BCMP, and is transitioning as a member of the BCMP board as the two organizations finalize the merger. \u201cI\u2019ve been a part of the YAP for Boone County board since it formed in 2014,\u201d Clark said. \u201cI also have a practice for mental health and addiction in Boone County with offices in both Zionsville and Lebanon. The YAP programs in Hamilton County already have mentoring under their umbrellas, so we felt the merger of the two organizations, BCMP and Boone County YAP, was a natural fit. Both organizations want to serve our entire county.\u201d Wilson has been with the organization since 2016. He described the support that the organization has received and will continue to receive from local law enforcement and public safety agencies and school administrators as being \u201cbig supporters,\u201d offering their assistance and resources to the organization as it continues forward. \u201cJudge Edens was instrumental in bringing a YAP program to Boone County after seeing the success that Judge Nation had in Hamilton County with the development of their YAP programs,\u201d Wilson explained. \u201cJudge Edens saw the development of a YAP program in Boone County as being critical, so we can get to the kids before they get in front of him. We are proactively getting the support and involvement of the law enforcement and public safety agencies from all over the county.\u201d Providing mentoring to kids is the primary objective of the organization in addition to providing resources to help the children and their families overcome the obstacles they face. BCMP stresses the importance of providing children with opportunities to be engaged and feel a sense of hope and accomplishment. The mentors provide another avenue for children to engage and develop relationships that will help them to realize and achieve their potential. Currently, the organization needs 20 more mentors to cover the children that are on its waiting list. \u201cIndividuals who are interested in becoming mentors can apply online,\u201d Wilson said. \u201cThe application takes about 15-20 minutes. Individuals must consent to a background check and to a minimum commitment of one year. The time commitment is only four hours per month, one hour per week at a minimum. We interview each candidate to ensure that they\u2019re the right personality for the mentorship program. We try to make matches based on interests, strengths, needs and geographical proximity as well.\u201d Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak spoke about the importance of having BCMP available to children and families in Zionsville who are need of its services and resources. \u201cIt\u2019s another way that we can identify kids and families in our community that need help,\u201d Haak emphasized. \u201cThe teachers and school administrators see our kids more than we do, and they can help identify dangers in their behavior and offer the support. BCMP is a great resource and way to reach out to these children and their families.\u201d BCMP will continue to work with the local school districts and build on its existing relationships with them. The partnership works both ways, and Dr. Scott Robison, the superintendent of Zionsville Community Schools, understands the importance of these partnerships when it comes to the health and strength of his student body. \u201cI'm excited to join the forces of the Youth Assistance Program and the Boone County Mentoring Program,\u201d Robison said. \u201cWe are so blessed in Boone County to have public service agencies to assist residents, especially young people and those of us who serve them in our schools. Strong in Every Way (SIEW) is an evolving and ongoing campaign that is designed to build human capital. SIEW is an umbrella under which all manners of support, trainings, speakers, experiences and discussions are being amassed to help build human capital in ZCS. We look forward to connecting the important dots of SIEW and the Boone County Mentoring Program, so this newly-constituted countywide youth support agency can be a major partner with ZCS going forward.\u201d BCMP is hosting a fundraising dinner Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Ulen Country Club in Lebanon, Indiana. Tickets are $75 per person and $600 per table without a sponsorship. BCMP is asking residents and businesses alike for their support. Sponsorships are available as well as individual tickets. \u201cIt is my goal to see the kids that grow up in Boone County want to put their roots down here and realize their own personal success here,\u201d Wilson said. \u201cI want them to become innovators, creators and entrepreneurs here because this is where the people and the communities supported them.\u201d For more information about BCMP and becoming a mentor, visit boonecountymentoring.org. For sponsorship opportunities at the upcoming BCMP fundraising dinner, contact Matt Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.