Hundreds of students in the Sioux Falls School District are in need of mentors. From kids whose parents are in prison to others who just need some encouragement, getting them that extra help is now a community-wide goal.
More than 1,100 volunteers mentor students for just an hour a week in Sioux Falls. Fifth grader Angie Barrientoslopez has had a mentor for three years and loves the interaction.
"We talk about our weekends. It's so fun. We can tell our own secrets. It's very fun," Barrientoslopez said.
The school district says at least 700 students have been identified as needing a mentor to be more successful in the classroom and elsewhere.
"That presence of that mentor to each one of those children is so critically important," superintendent Pam Homan said.
As the superintendent said, hundreds of kids could use a mentor, which is why the "Everyday Heroes" initiative got started.
Longtime mentor Randell Beck is literally the poster guy for the initiative. He applauds Sioux Falls residents for finding the time to make a difference.
"The people who give their time to mentor, most of them workers at area businesses, are quite simply heroes," Beck said.
Beck adds while some may find it hard to set aside one hour a week to mentor, those who do often feel rewarded. There's no doubt it's making an impact in the lives of local children.
"It's so fun. It's like a family member, you trust them," Barrientoslopez said.