BRIDGETON, N.J. – A local chapter of a national nonprofit is hoping to help mentor teenagers from a Cumberland County high school.

Students at Bridgeton High School are getting extra support both in and out of the classroom through the AmeriCorps Bridgeton Project.

“What we do is mentor and tutor primarily high school students,” said Amy Petrie, program manager for AmeriCorps Bridgeton Project.

“They go into Bridgeton High School in the morning, throughout the day and help out in different classrooms,” said Petrie. “Then after school they come here along with the high school students and we give tutoring [and] SAT prep.

“We [also] bring in different speakers and let these students have different experiences.”

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The whole idea is to give these teens good role models — and that’s where the AmeriCorps mentors come in.

“They’ve been through the college process [and] they know how to deal with admissions,” said Petrie.

According to Petrie, the mentors’ experiences will help guide the children onto the right path.

Jeffrey Heins is one of the mentors already signed up.

“I was born and raised in Cumberland County and I’ve really just been looking for a way to give back to my community and to show them the opportunities that are out there,” said Heins.

Heins joined AmeriCorps because he wished he had a mentor like this growing up.

“The kids that have come in genuinely want to be here and come and spend time with us and learn and do all these things after leaving from school,” said Heins.

“They’re coming here to learn more stuff and they’re enjoying it.”

Right now the team consists of 10 mentors, but they need 10 more to sign up to continue the program.

“We have full-time positions, which are 40-hour-a-week positions, and we also have a halftime position, which is a 20-hour-a-week position,” said Petrie. “So if you have another job you can still come here and help out.”

The full-time position offers about $1,000 a month as a living allowance and $6,000 at the end of a year of service.

“You need to have a passion for education in the community,” said Petrie. “My main focus is wanting to see someone who’s really passionate about the community and making an impact in this area.”

Those interested in making an impact in the lives of teens in Bridgeton should reach out to by December 1st.

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