Keen Rallies Community For Local Youth Assistance

Jefferson County Mentor Program leadership David Keen, Judge David K. Overstreet, Safe Families Executive Director Christine Taulbee, CASA Executive Director Brenda Torres and CASA Child Advocate Sharon Terry

APRO Hall of Honor recipient David Keen’s, Rent One Public Relations Director, 15-year affiliation with the Mentors 4 Kids program in Southern Illinois recently came to an end as the organization lost its funding for the region. Keen and several prominent individuals and organizations are coming together to reach out to the community for assistance in helping the youth in the area by filling the void with the newly formed Jefferson County Mentor Program.

“There are a lot of needs for both foster kids and to mentor,” says Keen, former Mt. Vernon mayor, and program organizer. “A lot of kids go to school and come home to see their parents doing drugs or going through some type of violence, or they don’t have food. They don’t know a normal life.”

A breakfast to discuss the program and various community needs will be held from 7:30-8:30 a.m. April 8 at Rare Chop House in Mt. Vernon, IL. Speakers at the event will include Jefferson County Presiding Judge Jo Beth Weber, Illinois Appellate Court Justice David K. Overstreet, and APRO scholarship recipient Javontay Moss, who grew up being mentored by Keen since he was five.

“The program allowed me to have a positive male influence in my life that I didn’t have before,” shares Moss who currently attends the University of Southern Indiana and is studying communications and social services. “It has had a direct influence on where I am now.”

The new program will adopt many procedures and framework that the former Mentors 4 Kids organization had but with a focus directly on the youth of Jefferson County. The new program is seeking mentors to take some time every week to help guide children who need a positive influence in their life. Information on how the community can be involved with various agencies will be at the event and will include Angel’s Cove, CASA, Safe Families for Children and Spero Family Services.

“We know there is an absolute need for this program,” says Keen. “We are initiating this meeting to formulate a plan and get the ball rolling.”