ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The month of January has been designated as National Mentoring Month.

Currently, Anniston Army Depot's Mentoring Program partners with Anniston City Schools, Oxford City Schools and Calhoun County Schools.

ANAD's mentoring is a one-on-one relationship through which an adult fosters the development of character and competence in a young person.

For Rob Cofield in ANAD's Directorate of Emergency Services, becoming a mentor two years ago was akin to a ministry.

With 16 years as a law enforcement officer, Cofield has seen numerous people whose lives may have taken a different path if someone had intervened early on.

"My heart is in seeing people be positively influenced and making a difference in the lives of others," said Cofield.

In only two years, he's seen those differences in his mentee, who went from reading below his grade level to reading at grade level in that time.

In addition to reading, Cofield plays chess and just spends time with his mentee, realizing the value a little positive attention can give a child.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership, children with mentors are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college and 46 percent less likely to start using drugs.

"I wanted to be that role model for a child who showed them they are important and special," said Linda Cox from the Directorate of Resource Management.

Cox and her mentee spend their time together each week drawing, coloring and playing games. She said it warms her heart as each new piece of her mentee's personality in unveiled -- from her victory dance after a game to her thoughts about family members and friends.

The depot's Mentoring Program was initiated in Calhoun County in 1996. Volunteers from throughout the workforce spend one hour per week with a student identified as at risk.

Krista Staehly from the Directorate of Information Management has served as a mentor for 12 years.

"I decided to be a mentor because I love helping others, especially children," she said. "Just knowing I have a chance to help one child and make a difference in their life is why I continue to mentor."

The Mentoring Program at the depot currently has 16 volunteers who help make a difference in a child's life.

If you would like to learn more about the depot's Mentoring Program, contact Marilyn Futrell at 256-741-5266.

ANAD mentors are:
Willie Buford, Robert Chandler, Esther Clay, Linda Cox, Robert Cofield, Kimberly Gibson, Justin Green, Amanda Hulsey, Jason Joiner, Amanda Jones, Addie Kirksey, Hilda McClellan, John McMichael, Kennie Miller, Steven Morris and Krista Staehly.