My spirit has been very low because of the recent tragedy here in Fishers. I had the chance to talk to a HSE student who knew Maxwell Winkler. He shared with me his interactions with Max in class. He was described as quiet and a little out of place socially. He wasn’t described by what came out in his horrific actions that caused the death of an innocent man.
I think now about YMI’s mission in mentoring Fishers students. I recall the meetings that I have with the schools as they work at identifying and inviting students. I remember the comments that there are so many students who need extra personal attention. When the student to counselor ratio is 370 to 1 just in high school, our counselors are overwhelmed. A typical high school teacher in Fishers has 6 classes of 25 students each. So many students fly under the radar because there are so many of them. Our teachers are on the front lines in the lives of our children and they need support.
Recalling the 2013 Gallup Survey conducted, it simply showed us that a third of our students need extra attention. They were struggling at staying engaged in school. They felt hopeless and had a poor sense of well being. This unfortunately was an anonymous survey. I wonder what these students were feeling while taking this survey, I wonder if they asked themselves, “who cares about me?” If Max was present the day they conducted the survey, I wonder how he responded. I wonder if he asked himself that question. In the latest news report of this tragedy, a close friend of his said Max was showing signs of feeling misunderstood.
YMI mentors are volunteers, they are not experts in the area of mental health nor are they counselors. What YMI mentors do well is expose deeper needs and wounds that students are carrying or feeling. YMI has a great way of getting students help when they open the doors to their lives and show the difficult stuff and the deeper hurt.
We need more adults who will put a student on their radar. We need more adults who will say to a student, “I care about you.” We need more adults who can give an hour of their time each week to be present and mentor in our schools. When you share your life, you change a life. Consider becoming a mentor for YMI. For more information, go to: www.ymionline.org and sign up for our next information meeting. You can also email YMI at: firstname.lastname@example.org