ETX mentoring program teaches students to be extraordinary - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ETX mentoring program teaches students to be extraordinary

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TATUM, TX (KLTV) -

According to kids count, a non-profit organization, 35% of children in the United States live in a single-parent home.

One East Texas community realized many children in their school district are a part of that statistic, so they decided to form a mentorship group to give students more support.

Tatum teenagers are sitting next to and learning from men who are three to four times their age.

Their mission is to help one another become better people.

"We're living in a world right now where people think as long as they can justify in their own mind why they do something then it's ok to do it, and there's not really a right and wrong anymore," says Andy Evans, the athletic director and football coach for Tatum High School.

As a result, Evans started a mentorship group called 1 in 100 The Uncommon Man.

"1 in 100 answer the really tough calls in life and make the tough decisions and we're trying to teach our young men and women here that we want them to be that 1 in 100," Evans says.

Every month, starting last Spring, men from the community come to talk with Tatum students.

"It's just a matter of giving a little time and letting the individuals know somebody cares about you," says John Bartley, a male mentor in the program.

"Ever since Tatum had 1 in 100, there's been more people helping people, doing better stuff, staying in school, and helping the school more," says Earnest Jernigan, a student at Tatum High School.

Around 200 men, both young and old, are a part of the group and they stay in touch with one another even outside of the meeting.

"They stay in touch with us, they give us encouragement in all of our endeavors, they're there to comfort us when things are down," says Luke Daniels, a student in the 1 in 100 mentorship program.

"It's just an opportunity for us to invest in the lives of young people," says Evans.

The program is an investment that has given the young men of Tatum more than just mentorship.

"It's a place where you can come and be a family," says Jernigan.

Tatum ISD also has a mentorship program for young girls called 1 in 100 The Extraordinary Woman.

Coach Evans says anyone who wants to participate in the program can and not every student comes from a single-parent home.

Evans says several other school districts have contacted him about starting a similar program and have visited Tatum High School to see how 1 in 100 The Uncommon Man works. 

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