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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mentoring Plus Celebrates Seven Years Of Helping Youth With Seeds Of Hope Gala

Mentoring Plus - Guiding Kids, Supporting Families, Strengthening Communities
Mentoring Plus, a grassroots non-profit organization founded in April 2009 by several lifelong Northern Kentucky residents, came together with a  mission - to empower disadvantaged youth and their families to fulfill their potential and to contribute to the well-being of the community by forming relationships based on mutual trust, compassion and respect.

Program Director Robin Anderson says Mentoring Plus relies heavily upon the dedicated community volunteers that make the program such a success. Anderson is one among an administration team and board that have more than 100 years of experience in the areas of juvenile justice, juvenile mental health and the education system.

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Located in Newport, the program runs on community donations and family foundation grants to provide these mentoring services for Northern Kentucky's high-risk youth that face many challenges such as mental illness, violence, abuse, neglect and severe poverty.

"Mentoring Plus now serves about five times as many youth and families as in the first year.
We’ve grown from a staff of one to a staff of five (all part-time) in order to bring compassion and hope to over 175 people in the community, and the waiting list continues to grow
, said Anderson.

Everything we do revolves around genuine relationships – and everytime someone gives of their time or resources for these kids, they are lighting a match in the darkness for someone who is struggling to find their way.

The staff and volunteers give so much to the cause. They are walking definitions of compassion. And the kids know it; they say “this is my second family.” I think it’s because everything we do is a message to them that they matter, that they are worthy of love."

Each year Mentoring Plus holds the Seeds of Hope Gala, their biggest fundraiser. This year's seventh annual event is on Friday, April 28 at The Syndicate from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be raffles, games, speakers and a dinner.

Executive Director Kevin Kennedy calls the event a celebration of the program's kids and successes.
This year's honorees are Fred and Betty Jo Haas who will be presented the David Hosea Seeds of Hope award for their support in representing Mentoring Plus' values and mission.

Fred and Betty Jo Haas say they are flattered to be receiving this year's Seeds of Hope Award.
The award is named after David Hosea, the program's first recipient seven years ago for his widespread, long-term philanthropy; Hosea has been on the board at Mentoring Plus since then.

Kennedy said the Haas' were chosen for their many years of philanthropy in the Northern Kentucky community and for their work with children.

Fred Haas, president of  his family business, National Band and Tag Company in Newport, the last 12 years before his retirement worked there since his college graduation. In addition to several area organizations he is a part of including Mentoring Plus, Fred was a very active member of the Campbell County Jaycees and the Ft. Thomas Lions Club. He supports and is a board member at Brighton Center; he supports the Henry Hosea House and several local charities, and he and Betty Jo have fostered children which Kennedy calls a major contribution and a huge commitment to children.

Betty Jo, a retired teacher and NKU adjunct professor, also has been very supportive of many charities and held office at the Youth Haven, a home for abandoned and neglected children. She volunteers at the Hosea House and other organizations as well.

Judge Mickey Foellger, Mentoring Plus chairman and board member has been in juvenile court his entire career as a family court judge, a juvenile prosecutor and a guardian ad litem. He has seen first hand the effects of neglect and abuse.

After meeting Kevin Kennedy who was director of children's homes with a long history of working with kids, who also started Mentoring Plus, Foellger decided Mentoring Plus was right up his alley after retiring.

"We will never know where these kids would have gone without the program,  Foellger said.

This is one of these ways of intervening and maybe giving kids an opportunity to grow and be productive citizens. That's the whole point of the program."

For more information on Mentoring Plus, visit

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