After 27 years of volunteer work with Reach Our Youth, Helen Hintz was honored in a ceremony as she steps down from the ROY board.
Hintz first got involved with ROY as a mentor to a 6-year-old girl in 1981. Over the next 12 years, the girl "became one of our family," Hintz said.
"It works two ways," she added. "She had an impact on me."
Hintz said her former "little sister" now lives in another state and is married with children, but they still keep in touch.
"I still get pictures of her children and letters," Hintz said.
She decided to volunteer for ROY after hearing Rachel Battiste, the first director for the program, talk about the importance mentoring can have on the lives of young people on the Sound Off program on WLKR Radio.
"Her words moved me and I called her that afternoon," Hintz said. She agreed to serve on the board in 1990.
Huron County Probate & Juvenile Court Judge Tim Cardwell presented Hintz with a plaque as ROY board members and friends added their congratulations.
Kathy Noftz, ROY director, said the program now has 45 matches between adults and children aged 6 to 18, adding that 50 boys and 35 girls are on a waiting list for mentors.
She explained that the program matches young people in a one-on-one relationship with a mentor to provide children with a good role model and an extra friend to share life's experiences.
"It is about mentoring and visiting with the child," Noftz said. "It is not about spending money. It is about time."
Volunteers are asked to meet with their child three to four times a month for at least two hours at a time, she said, adding ROY asks for a six-month commitment from mentors.
"Many of our matches go past that six months," she said and some form a true family bond.
ROY also holds group activities every two to three months to bring the youth and their mentors together.