Starting middle school can be challenging, but a mentoring program called Where Everybody Belongs is easing the transition and opening up relationships between incoming sixth graders and their eighth grade mentors.

Soft SkillsAccording to Belding Middle School counselor Debra Wright, the goal of the program is to introduce sixth graders entering middle school to experienced eighth graders to facilitate friendships and get them acclimated. The hope is that those friendships prosper, and continue through high school.

“When I first started school, there wasn’t really anyone to help me around. The WEB program helps the kids who haven’t been here before if they’re shy and don’t know how to make new friends,” said 13 year old Rylei Helder, a WEB mentor. “In middle school, you meet a bunch of people and this just brings them all closer so everyone has a friend.”

“It gives our eighth-graders a chance to develop leadership skills and to use leadership skills in our building,” said Middle School teacher Molly Ward. “I’m really excited for our sixth-graders because this gives them a nice, warm welcome to the building and it gives them people to connect to right away.”

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