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PEAK Mentorship looks for mentees

The PEAK Mentorship Program is looking for mentees. 
The Promoting Esteem Among Kids (PEAK) Mentorship Program began several months ago, and aims to provide positive influences for kids. While in-person meeting was paused due to COVID-19, discussions of resuming are underway and could begin soon. 
Shannon Payne, program coordinator, said this is great for kids who want to get out and do things and/or have someone to talk to about things and have someone listen to them.
He explained the benefits this program offers to their mentees. 
“We figured out that kids who have a positive influence in their life, other than from their parents, are often more than likely to graduate high school, graduate college,” he explained. “We’re just trying to help kids become better members of society.”
According to Payne, many of these kids have high ACEs scores. An adverse childhood experience (ACE) describes a traumatic experience in a person’s life occurring before the age of 18 that could potentially impact the person throughout their life. As a result of this trauma, kids are prone to having a stress hormone in their brain called Cortisol. 
Payne explained that with this hormone, the brain makeup is impacted, often keeping in a stance of fight or flight. He said this brain makeup can be changed between the ages of 12-16. 
‘If we can get in there and make a positive influence on these kids and change their brain to thinking everything is going to be okay and that there are people who love them, we can change their lives in that aspect,” he said. 
There are currently five mentees in the program and 13 trained mentors. The program is running virtual at this time. 
While the set time is also to be announced, the mentorship has also worked to have a skate park available at Parks and Rec on Sundays, which will be for any kid, in the near future as well. 
Any child from the ages of seven to 17 which is the only criteria, can join the mentorship program. 
For more information, email elizabethtonmentors@outlook.com, or call 423-791-8674. The program’s Facebook page is called Elizabethton/Carter County Mentoring Program. 
“We’re just trying to help the community,” Payne said. “We’re just trying to be a helping hand and be there for the kids to have a shoulder to lean on. We’re going to love them and try to help in any way we possibly can.”