Posted by Frank Dykas on Oct 29, 2019
McCall Rotary Making a Difference 
Last January the Payette Lakes-McCall Rotary Club formed a Mentoring Program Committee to implement a mentoring program at an alternative school, Heartland High School, located in McCall, Idaho. 
I was asked to take the lead.  At the initial organizational meetings, we didn’t have a clue on how to start, but we decided to proceed with three separate programs:
  • First, as a means of introducing ourselves, organizing a contest on what the principles of the Rotary Four Way Test meant to each student;
  • Second, scheduling a series of career presentations from Rotarians emphasizing the circuitous paths that led Club members into their varied careers;
  • And third, offering tutoring services for the students.
While still in the development stages, the program worked.  About a third of the student body participated in the Four Way Test contest.  It was a free-form contest where students could write an essay or a poem, compose a song, create a piece of artwork or give a verbal presentation.  A sophomore student won the competition with an original poem she wrote and set to music, which she then performed for the Rotarian judges.
The contest had a real impact on the student body; they even devoted a page in their yearbook to our Rotary contest, where they quoted the Four Way Test verbatim.
Last Summer our club sent the young lady (who won our contest) to RYLA, giving her the confidence and skills she needed to take charge of her life.  Her participation in the contest, RYLA, and continued support from Rotarians, helped her shift her life to a new direction.  She is now living with her extended family on the West Coast, and enrolled in a Fast Track program, at a regular high school, with a goal of obtaining her Associates Degree concurrent with her high school diploma.  Rotarian Eliza Barclay, has maintained contact with this student, and she is on track and doing well.  Rotarians made a difference for this young lady, it wouldn’t have happened without us.
The career presentations were also met with some success.   We have fine tuned the presentations this year to include lunch for the students and focused on scheduling presenters whose career paths have been less traditional.  This year we expect to have even more impact upon the students at Heartland High School.  We will continue with our Four Way Test contest, as well as expand it into the 8th Grade at the McCall Middle School in hopes to introduce Rotary and it’s values to the younger age groups.  Other improvements include a new internship program.
We are linking the career presentations to a new program instituted by the McCall – Donnelly School Board called “career exploration internships,” under which a high school student can obtain graduation credit by serving an internship with a local employer for a minimum of 60 hours.
During the summer, in anticipation of this new program, Rotarians recruited local businesses to offer internships.  The internship program launched the week of October 21st and five Heartland High School students are enrolled in a training program at the Donnelly, Idaho, Fire Department, under the capable supervision of Donnelly Fire Chief, and fellow Rotarian, Juan Bonilla.  The goal for the student interns is to obtain an EMT and/or a Firefighter Essentials certificate.
This is a mentoring program that is worth pursuing.  We are making a difference.  And if any other Club is interested in exploring this type of program, we would be glad to share all that we have learned.  For more information please contact me, Rotarian Frank Dykas at (208) 630-6150.
Five Heartland High School students take advantage of new internship program to enroll in a Junior Cadet Training Program with Donnelly  Fire Department
And of course, a Rotary International logo on the back.