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Published May 10, 2013, 05:49 PM

D-G-F takes a mentoring program to the next level

Dilworth, MN (WDAY TV) -- There are great benefits for children, who team up with a mentor. And while schools in our area have explored and implemented this idea, D-G-F schools has taken it to a new level.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Dilworth, MN (WDAY TV) -- There are great benefits for children, who team up with a mentor. And while schools in our area have explored and implemented this idea, D-G-F schools has taken it to a new level.

When Mandy Marcil isn't making headlines with her athleticism, she is winning points with something she values even more. Changing the life of an elementary student, 8-year old and second grader Ren Decker.

Ren: "We do fun stuff together and we do awesome things."

Mandy Marcil: "When i open the door and see how happy Ren is, that makes me just as happy that makes me excited. Read or whatever we do."

Ren: "Because we are family. Family together."

In a new, but exploding program, DGF is teaming up stand out high school students with grade school kids just down the hall.

"Ready to go."

18-year old Kurtis Trautmann is a junior,

"How is your family doing?"

His 4th grade buddy is Jared Woods. They meet for breakfast in the lunchroom, talking before school and after school, going over homework. It has changed both of them in way no textbook or football game will.

Jared Woods: "Usually every morning we talk, if you have problems at home you can talk about that i think it is cool that the high schoolers would do this."

Kurtis Trautmann/Mentor: "I just think the biggest thing for me is when i tell Jared we need to go to talk just the smile on his face is brightens my dad."

And without even planning for it, teachers and administrators have witnessed better grades and improved attendance.

Shannon Dahlberg/DGF Principal: "It is phenomenal, the kids are so excited."

Tony Reno/DGF Teacher: "I have high school kids bringing to me handmade cards written by the elementary kids it is so impactful for both the hs and elem kids."

What's so unique, DGF started this on their own. Some children who needed that extra person in their life. Guidance, a smile and an ear from a teen-ager, who have become so attached to their grade school buddies, some promise to maintain connections, while they are to college.

D-G-F may work at getting the junior high students involved in the program next year.

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