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Governor Unveils Mentoring Program For Kansas Welfare Recipients

Stephen Koranda

Gov. Sam Brownback hopes a new mentoring program can help lift Kansans out of poverty.

The program will match people on cash assistance in Kansas with volunteer mentors. Brownback announced the program and encouraged people to sign up to help.

“You will be the better for it. The person that volunteers to help out and mentor somebody out of poverty, you will get more out of this than anybody else. I guarantee that,” Brownback says.

Jim Echols will head the program. He says the goal is teaching the skills needed to be successful in education and employment.

“Developing within the attitude, the value system, of one who sees work and develops a worth ethic,” Echols says.

The group Kansas Action for Children points out that the state recently cut back the amount of time Kansans can receive cash assistance. President Shannon Cotsoradis says she’d like to see more investment in existing programs instead of creating new ones.

“I think that the first priority needs to be making sure that families have the access to the resources they need to pay for rent, utilities, food, clothing and transportation," Cotsoradis says. "Mentoring programs are really a supplement."

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.