THE CENTER: South, 16, serves as teen mentor

COLUMBIA CITY — Anna South, a 16-year-old homeschool student, has invested her time and ability to the service of The Center for Whitley County Youth.The Center is a nonprofit, community-based, youth-development organization benefitting Whitley County teens. Since 2005, the organization has leaned on community members to volunteer in numerous after-school programs and social activities.South has been involved as a teen for two years. She works with middle school students in an after-school service program that allows her to mentor younger teens.“So many of the middle schoolers just need a friend,” South said. “They come from abusive homes and some are already getting involved in drugs. They need to have someone understand what they are dealing with. They are dealing with relationships that they are not really ready to handle emotionally. I can help them feel like someone cares and will listen to them.”South speaks of the value of volunteers from first-hand experience. She said the adults at The Center were a significant influence in her own life when she first became involved.“The adults really care. They cared about me when I first starting coming,” South said. “There were some things I was struggling with. They listened and didn’t make me feel like I was a bad person. It’s helpful to have people there that aren’t your parents or teachers. You feel more comfortable talking to them.”To read the rest of this story, see the June 29-30 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.