Keith Boggs of Oakdale was recently honored by the leaders of the Great Valley Bookfest, who presented him with their Literacy Hero Award.
In 1999, Boggs developed a mentor program to address Stanislaus County’s dropout rate of 23.6 percent, which was one of the highest for the state of California. He initiated a community-driven solution to combat apathy and hopelessness caused by gaps in academic skills, low self-esteem, lack of role models, emotional detachment, and/or language barriers.
In the first year of the program, 30 employees of Stanislaus County started mentoring. Last year, 188 mentors worked in teams to provide over 2,500 hours of youth mentoring.
The Stanislaus County mentoring program uses a team-based approach to help volunteers balance their busy schedules. Teams are comprised of as many as three individuals, so volunteers can rotate their mentor days and provide backup when someone has an unexpected scheduling conflict, ensuring that their young protégé consistently receives visits twice a week.
The program has grown in large part due to participation from partner organizations. Over the years, Boggs has forged working partnerships with other local agencies, including city governments (Hughson and Modesto), the Stanislaus County Office of Education, and Modesto Junior College. He has also developed partnerships with community organizations like the 500 Lions Club, Modesto Rotary, and City Ministries.
In addition to his volunteer role, Boggs is the Assistant Chief Executive Officer for Stanislaus County. In spite of his heavy workload, Boggs has remained the champion and guiding force of the Employee Mentoring effort, serving as a mentor himself and contributing enormous amounts of his personal time to the program.
“The Bookfest leadership team was impressed and inspired by this mentoring program and the investment Mr. Boggs has made in the lives of local children,” commented Melissa King, who chairs the award committee. “It is our great pleasure to recognize him among our region’s Literacy Heroes.”
Now celebrating the completion of its 20th year, the Stanislaus County Employee Mentor program continues to attract employees and partner organizations who wish to give back and become involved in the lives of young people in Stanislaus County. Anyone wishing to volunteer as a mentor can apply online: www.employeementors.com.