The Volunteer Center recruits volunteers to fill thousands of positions at more than 1,000 nonprofit agencies. But one could argue that no volunteer job is more important than that of a mentor.

“More and more children in our community need caring adults to spend time with them,” says Cherry Frye, associate executive director of the Volunteer Center of Dallas County.

It is for these children that the Volunteer Center and other local agencies established the Metroplex Mentor Center. The Mentor Center is not a place, but a concept. It’s a coalition of agencies committed to achieving high standards in their mentoring programs and recruiting more volunteers.

In January, neighborhood resident and Mayor Ron Kirk joined the Volunteer Center to announce the public kickoff of the Mentor Center. Already, more than 20 agencies have joined the Mentor Center and attended training sessions.

Now it’s time for the public to become involved. The Mentor Center’s first orientation will be Thursday, Feb. 18, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak.

Those who attend can learn about various mentoring opportunities available and the requirements and issues that should be considered when selecting an agency.

Frye says a mentor is defined as “a trusted and faithful individual who listens, supports and guides on a consistent basis over a defined period of time.”

Within this definition, mentors can serve many roles – big brothers or big sisters, homework helpers, scout leaders, coaches and more, Frye says.

Volunteers can choose positions based on time, interests and locations.

For information about the Metroplex Mentor Center or the orientation, call Cynthia Stacy at 214-826-6767, ext. 243.