Shout It from the Rooftop
YMI Director spends three days on The Edge rooftop to recruit mentors
Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Todd Melloh, executive director of the Youth Mentoring Initiative (YMI), Fishers, recently shouted some serious messages from the rooftop of The Edge building in mid-July.
Melloh stayed on the top floor of The Edge building parking lot off 116th Street from Monday, July 17 through Wednesday, July 19 in an event called “YMI on the Roof,” to recruit 100 qualified new members to serve in the 2017-18 school year.
“We thought this was a really unique way to drum up support,” Melloh says. “We wanted to find more creative ways to get some strong mentors.”
YMI mentors 250 students in Fishers, by building and sustaining a mentoring community with the highest level of service, integrity, encouragement and empathy.
“Thirty-seven percent of the seventh-12th grade Hamilton Southeastern students feel sad, hopeless or depressed,” Melloh says. “Our mentors help them by providing another loving and caring adult in their lives.”
Melloh added that a lot of these kids need some consistency in their lives.
“It’s very rewarding to help a student,” Melloh says. “Sometimes they just need someone to talk to or hang out with. They need someone to help them with the long haul. Improving mental health is one of Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness’ top initiatives, and this fits in nicely.”
Melloh notes that Fishers has had more than 55 suicides in the last five years among kids and adults. Each year, 11 to 14 people in the city of nearly 88,000, take their own lives, according to Melloh.
“Since our inception 10 years ago, YMI has mentored more than 500 students giving more than 20,000 hours of service to the city and its residents,” Melloh says.
But they could still use more help, and the rooftop campaign was a way to get it.
“I stayed on the top floor of the parking garage all day and night encouraging my friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc., via email, texts, social media, to join the YMI mentoring team by pushing out mentoring facts, sharing stories from the field and creating awareness of the need,” Melloh says.
His goal is to build awareness of YMI, make people aware of the need for help inside of the schools and create a campaign that gets people off the sidelines and into the schools.
Melloh is no stranger to positive publicity stunts. He previously created a barefoot coaching event with former IUPUI Head Basketball Coach Ron Hunter, where he coached a game in his bare feet that raised hundreds of thousands of shoes.
The event was featured on 439 media outlets around the world. Coach Hunter was named ABC News Person of the Year.
Melloh hopes the “YMI on the Roof” was another positive way to raise awareness among the community about a serious issue.
“I had a staff of 10 people who were supporting our efforts on the ground with yard signs, community engagement, stickers, etc. while visiting high traffic locations in Fishers and interacting with Fishers residents,” Melloh says. “The goal was to create a lot of buzz in the city about what we are doing. We had city officials, business owners, celebrities, etc. come up to be interviewed by me on Facebook Live.
“The more we serve outside ourselves, the better we become,” Melloh adds. “We can share a life to change a life.”
For more information, visit ymionline.org.