It's possible Robert H. Jackson would have reached great heights without the mentoring he received from Mary Willard.
After all, Jackson had proven himself to be a bright, gifted and motivated student by the time he reached Jamestown High School. Jackson, however, placed great importance on Willard's influence, often referring to his relationship with Willard as one of the most important of his life.
"Inspiration to good reading, or to writing and to living on a higher plane of culture, came from this earnest and modest woman," Jackson wrote of Willard in a piece available for viewing as part of the Robert H. Jackson Center's new exhibit, "Say, I Taught Thee: The Life of Mary R. Willard." "It is in large degree due to her leadership and teaching that a standard of public speaking, journalism and writing prevails in this city about that usual to one of our size."
Willard's impact on Jackson carries weight even today. There are hundreds of youth in Chautauqua County in dire need of people who want to be involved in a child's life. Mentors can help improve a youth's academic performance. Children who have a good relationship with a mentor tend to do better in school, stay away from alcohol and drugs, don't get involved in criminal activity and pursue healthier lifestyles.
Those interested in becoming a mentor can call Big Brother/Big Sister at 664-7101; Compeer Chautauqua County at 487-2956; the Foster Grandparent Program through RSVP at 665-5354 or Chautauqua Striders at 488-2203.