LIMA — Mitchell Monfort spends his days teaching math to middle school students at Lima schools, but his impact extends far beyond the classroom.
Monfort, a 2017 Jefferson Award winner, will go out of his way to ensure his students’ needs are met. He tutors students during his personal planning time and after school, and he routinely provides them with school supplies, food, clothing and other necessities.
But perhaps the most generous act Monfort has undertaken is his willingness to open his home to students in crisis. For the third time, Monfort and his family have taken in a young man who had nowhere else to turn. Not only does he provide them food and shelter, he considers them part of his family. His current “son,” Miguel, is a student at Lima Senior High School. Monfort took Miguel under his wing about a year ago.
“Right now we’re working on getting him accepted into junior college, and hopefully get him his driver’s license within the next week,” Monfort said. “We just want to make sure he has a chance to be successful in life.”
Monfort said the most rewarding aspect of mentoring students is instilling confidence in them.
“Sometimes it’s a tough task because most of these kids don’t believe in themselves, so we make sure we do everything in our power to help them gain that confidence,” he said.
Bonnie Wicker, a Lima resident who nominated Monfort for the award, described him as a “true crusader for the youth in Lima.”
“I have lived in Lima my whole life, but never before have I witnessed someone who gives so freely to others,” Wicker wrote in her Jefferson Award nomination. “The mindset with which Mitch lives his life is one of selfless service to others. The commitment he demonstrates for others is inspiring to witness.”
In addition to his work with students, Monfort coaches youth sports teams, and has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters. And he does it all while raising a young son and daughter of his own.
“It is easy to hope that all adults are passionate about children, but Mitch’s commitment goes far beyond that,” Wicker wrote. “While some of us wonder if we are making a difference, Mitchell ensures that he is.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.