New mentoring program to start

Published 4:13 am Friday, August 17, 2018

District Attorney Warren Montgomery told the Bogalusa Rotary Club on Tuesday that his office is beginning a new mentoring program, in the hope of reaching at-risk youths before they become involved in criminal activity.

Montgomery, the speaker at the club’s Tuesday meeting, said that the program is called “Teach 1 to Lead 1” and it is a national curriculum that has had success in many other locations. He said that he first heard of it being used in Louisiana by District Attorney John Belton in Ruston.

“Our young people need good role model figures,” he said. “Good people that they can emulate and replicate.”

Montgomery said that plan is to offer the program at Bogalusa High School this year. If there is enough interest, it will be offered to both the high-school students and the junior-high students.

Under the Teach 1 to Lead 1 (T1L1) curriculum, a local citizen volunteers his or her time as a mentor. These mentors will then visit the school for one hour each week, for 14 weeks, to mentor students that the school has determined are in need of extra mentorship.

Those who are interested in becoming mentors will have to have a background check and other training.

“This is a program that works,” Montgomery said. “It has been a successful program across the country. I think it will match up very well with the needs of our community.”

Montgomery noted that the district attorney’s office is “the end of the road” for criminals, but there were many other stops along that road where intervention could have taken place. He considers that first stop to be the parents, who can teach their children morality and ethics; next would be the schools and coaches; followed by police officers and law enforcement.

But Montgomery said that a mentoring program like T1L1 could add another “speed bump” to that road and give a troubled youth the chance to turn his or her life around.

“This is a very important step in trying to reduce crime in our communities,” Montgomery said. “These are the kinds of programs that I believe are going to help turn Bogalusa around.”

Mentors do not need any previous teaching experience. They will be given the curriculum materials to follow, and each week a different life value will be featured.

Those who may be interested in mentoring must be 19 years or older, must not have a criminal case pending in the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court, must pass a federal background check, and must commit to five hours of online training (including child safety training).

For more information, call Lisa Frazier Page in Montgomery’s office at 985-809-8383. For more information about the program nationally, visit online at