Harbaugh heads KIDS with a Connection

After a summer spent learning the ropes for Greene County Extension’s KIDS with a Connection program, Janice Harbaugh is busy matching mentors and mentees, and launching monthly activities. With the retirement of Mary Tighe in July, Harbaugh assumed leadership of the mentoring program.

Harbaugh, a longtime educator and therapist, brings a wealth of varied experiences to the position. Her responsibilities include recruiting and retaining mentors, matching those mentors with youth identified by educators in need of a mentor, and coordinating group events for all involved in the program. She works closely with the Greene County mentoring advisory committee, consisting of Greene County volunteers with an interest in mentoring programming. The program is funded in part by a grant from the Communities 4 Children Decategorization Project, with additional resources provided by Greene County Extension.

Harbaugh earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and a doctorate in counseling from Drake University. She spent more than 35 years as a teacher and school counselor, therapist with Iowa Department of Human Services, and counselor in private practice before retiring in 2009. Her volunteer work includes foster care review board, the court-appointed special advocate (CASA) program, and as a mentor for KIDS with a Connection. She received the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Outstanding Service to the State of Iowa in 1988 for her work with CASA. Harbaugh has written and published several children’s books and owns Raspberry Ridge Publishing. She lives in Jefferson with her husband Gaylon.

A new activity for KIDS with a Connection participants are monthly game nights, where mentors and mentees can explore various games and compete for prizes. The next Game Night is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 8 pm at the Greene County Extension office.

The Greene County Extension Office is located at 104 West Washington Street in Jefferson and is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stop by the office or call 515-386-2138 to learn the latest in programming, and information offered.

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