LINKS Program

Madeline Kendall

There are two slogans that LINKS mentors and mentee’s go by; “Panthers helping Panthers” and “Peer to Peer Support.” These slogans represent the student body helping each other and being a role model for one another. This is a representation of LINKS because this is what a LINKS mentor is doing; they are helping other Panthers be successful.  Right now there are 34 students at WO involved in the LINKS program as mentors. There are currently 20 students being mentored by a peer.

  As an active member of the LINKS program, I see the countless impacts that this program makes on both the mentor and the mentee. One impact I have personally seen is a student who had no motivation to do well in school and absolutely dreaded being here every day was watching her grade in a class go from and F to a C+ in just a few weeks. The way her face lit up at how well she was doing in school made my job as her LINKS mentor even more worth it. She soon learned to enjoy school and working hard; her hard work paid off, and watching her work that hard impacted the way I look at school, too.

  WO Soph. Mary is a mentee in the LINKS program; she loves having the helping hand and friend with her throughout the day. Mary has made more friends through the LINKS program than she expected. “The biggest thing that was surprising for me was that my LINKS came every day. I wasn’t expecting to see them everyday we had school. I thought they would only come once and that was it. I’m really glad that they come everyday to hangout with me,” Mary said. Having a LINKS mentor with her all the time makes her feel more accepted, and she has a lot more fun during school. Mary loves having someone to talk to and relate with; she said that her school work has improved tremendously since the beginning of the year with having a LINK helping her in the classes that she needs.

  1. Soph. Madalene Brinkman is a LINKS mentor; she loves helping out the kids in the adapted P.E. class during fourth hour. “The most surprising thing about being a LINK was probably how accepting all the LINKS mentees are. On the first day of class, my LINKS mentee and all the other students in her/he P.E. class were so excited to see me. They continue to greet me with that same happiness everyday before class,” Brinkman said. Brinkman enjoys looking back on her first day of class with the LINKS students and remembers how nervous she was. Walking into the class, she soon fell in love with all the students and now looks forward to going there for fourth hour. Being a part of the LINKS program impacted her in several ways; she never knew that the LINKS students would be so excited to have her in their class and have unconditional love for her every day.

  Instructor Jenna Plewes is the head of the LINKS program; she sets up the mentor with the mentee and schedules monthly meetings for the LINKS mentees and mentors to meet up. Also, Plewes sets up activities for LINKS mentors and their mentees to do together. For example, earlier this month she had a field trip for all of them to go bowling together and do something other than homework and school work with their mentees. “The best word to describe LINKS is acceptance because that is the quote we try to emphasize for the program which is cultivating acceptance, participation, and integration for all students within the West Ottawa community,” Plewes said. Plewes works very hard so that the LINKS mentor and mentees have a meaningful and impactful semester together.

  All of these people and many more make LINKS work as smoothly as it does now. They work together to make this program successful and have formed the huge positive impact that LINKS has today.