PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– School starts this week, and helping a child in need is now easier than ever. You simply have to donate your time.

One local mentorship group is working to support teachers and students, but they need your help to do it.

The Elevate Bay Mentorship Initiative, through Bay District Schools, pairs a mentor match with “at-risk” students, and classrooms in need of a helping hand, to keep children on track with their academic and social development, according to the District.

“All you have to do is commit to visiting your classroom or student twice a month for 30 minutes,” said Mentor Specialist, Stacey Legg.

The program has expanded across to all grade levels, so anyone can help at any age level. Mentors can also conveniently choose a school located close to them.

“Our goal is to reach a 1,000 mentors county-wide,” said Legg.

To be a mentor you must be 18 years or older, have a high school degree, be able to pass a background check.

You also must attend a mentor orientation. The orientation dates are August 16th and August 31st.

To secure your spot for the orientation can visit Elevate Bay on Facebook and send a message to the account, or email Legg at or by calling 850-767-4128.

Ella Sims, a mentor at Cedar Grove Elementary also explained that mentorship goes beyond school studies.

“Sometimes the child you are helping may just need support and someone to be there for them,” Sims said.

Oscar Patterson Academy currently is awaiting for people to volunteer and become mentors, but Principal Charlotte Blue said she believes the program may have aided in saving the school from an F rating.

“The program started in 2017 our turn around year, and through over 1,000 hours of mentorship we went from an F to a C rating,” she said.