Mentor group to encourage young girls

Anyone with children knows the teen years can be difficult. The various issues that today's youth face can be hard to overcome alone. That is why one South Bend woman is hoping to make a difference with her mentoring program called Precious Pals.

The program is focused on girls ages 12 to 18 and to mentor them according to whatever issue they may be going through.

Tina Bynum created the program to help her daughter who had issues at school.

“My 14 year old daughter had problems at school with bullying, social skills, self esteem, and so forth. I figured there was probably several other teenage girls out in the community that are suffering from the same thing,” Bynum said.

She named the program Precious Pals in honor of her daughter whose middle name is Precious.

“The program is really fun. I tell myself three things about myself. I am smart, I am pretty, and I can do it,” said Tina's daughter Anija Precious Bynum.

Bynum helps the girls she mentors by holding weekly sessions where she teaches them about self-esteem, how to be a good friend, or how to resolve conflict.

“I could talk to her about it and she would tell me what to do and how to handle it,” said Charlotte Jenkins who is a member of Precious Pals.

For Bynum, she thrives on helping the girls. “The kids are what keep me going. They depend on me and they are literally my life. The reward in seeing them advance socially or gain some independence, it means more to me than any dollar amount.”

The girls learn different life skills and well as take part in volunteer opportunities.

“We work on cooking, etiquette, sorting laundry. Things that they would need to be able to do to be able to function in society and become self sufficient," she said.

To become a member of the program, it is a $20 monthly donation. Right now volunteers are needed to help out with the program. For volunteer information, contact Precious Pals.

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