SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) Hundreds of kids in Sioux Falls are on wait lists for mentors. Last week City Officials put a call out to the public to fill these volunteer positions.

Every week, Dawn Malsem and her mentee Ava meet for half an hour at Patrick Henry Middle School.

“We play games, or we talk and either I listen, and they talk or we both talk,” said Dawn Malsam, LSS mentor.

Malsam has been a mentor with Lutheran Social Services for the last 5 years.

“The biggest part of being a mentor is, is developing and growing a friendship with student. And that’s what I really enjoy doing. And it you know, it brings me joy to be able to do that,” Malsam said.

Mentor Gesine Ziebarth says she and her mentee Madeline have been working together for two years.

“I love watching them grow and develop as a person. And it’s amazing when they share stories with you, where you’re like, Wow, this is, this might be some, some tough stuff to share with someone. So it feels special,” said Gesine Ziebarth, LSS mentor.

Close to 600 kids in Sioux Falls are in need of mentors. Shea O’Brien with LSS says they are seeing their highest need since the early pandemic.

“We’ve been seeing lots of students who are struggling with some mental health and behavioral challenges, and they just really need a friend and a mentor somebody who can be there for them and help them through whatever it is they’re going through,” said Shea O’Brien, program coordinator for community mentoring program.

Which is why it’s more imperative than ever for people to answer the call.

LSS Mentors are volunteer based and meet students once a week for half an hour. You can find more information and a link to apply here.