STARS Junior Mentor Program expands |

STARS Junior Mentor Program expands

— The Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports Junior Mentor Program is expanding in its second year to include junior mentors with disabilities.

The program began last year and paired eight high school-aged mentors with younger children with autism to participate in a summer camp experience.

The Junior Mentor Program aims to develop the leadership skills of local high school students while also increasing the understanding and respect for individual differences, according to Stephanie Moore, STARS volunteer coordinator.

“The goal is for [the junior mentors] to get experience working with individuals with disabilities in the community,” Moore said. “The hope is to bridge that gap between kids with disabilities and kids without in the community.”

The mentees are local children with autism from preschool age to 15.

This year, the program will expand to include the Inclusion Program, which will allow a few high school students with disabilities to serve as assistant junior mentors, working with another mentor and mentee during the STARS Adventure Camp.

The Junior Mentor Program will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer.

Under the guidance of STARS staff, the mentors and clients will participate in outdoor activities including biking, fishing, watersports, rafting and tennis.

The mentors will also participate in separate team-building activities.

Applications for the Junior Mentor Program will be accepted through March 30 and can be found at

Students must be in their sophomore year of high school or older and must complete 25 hours of training to participate.

Moore said the program has influenced participants to help bridge the gap between students with and students without disabilities, and she’s heard stories of the mentors helping out other students at the high school after last year’s program was over.

“It was pretty effective this year,” Moore said. “We saw a lot of impact in the schools.”

High school junior Jordi Floyd said the experience gave her a close connection with her mentee and other children in the program when she participated.

“The Junior Mentor Program gave me a lot more exposure to people with disabilities,” Floyd said in a news release about the program. “I think I want to pursue something of this nature in my future career.”

The second annual Peer Mentoring Program is sponsored by the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation and the Auschutz Family Foundation.

For more information, contact Moore at

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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