By Michael Heins
Matt Martinez has been part of the Hill County Mentoring for Tomorrow Program for the last year and a half.
"It's a pretty cool program," Martinez said.
Born in Great Falls, Martinez is 14 years old and attends Havre Middle School.
"The mentoring program is a good thing for kids that could be in trouble and don't have fathers," Martinez said.
The program has directed him away from trouble with the law, he said.
"I really like the mentor program, and I don't have any dislikes about it," he said
Matt enjoys the numerous activities that he and his mentor have been involved in, such as skiing, going out to eat, talking, or performing community service work.
On one trip, Martinez and his mentor traveled with a group of other skiers to a hot springs and ski area near Butte.
The activity that Martinez has enjoyed the most with his mentor is skiing. Learning how to ski has helped build up his confidence.
His first ski trip with his mentor was to Hidden Valley in the Cypress Hills Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. That's where Martinez got his first taste of skiing.
"First couple of times on the hill and I was doing great," Martinez said. "The enjoyment of learning so fast. I felt I made a major accomplishment."
When asked if the mentor program has had a positive influence, Martinez said, "Yes! My mentor is always there for me and helps me out and encourages me in sports; my grades have gone up.
"I have not gotten in trouble with the law since my involvement with the mentor program. My mentor is one of the coolest guys that I have ever met."
The time spent on their various activities has given Martinez' mentor quality time for talking about what life has to offer. They have talked about numerous issues that will help guide Martinez in his life.
"We have been talking about what am I going to do when I grow up," Martinez said. "I am not sure at this point, but maybe I will join the Navy.
"I would like to start my own business, like a Sports Masters a little shop."
What would Martinez tell a friend about the program?
"I would tell him it's a good program and the mentor will help you out," he said. "If he is anything like my mentor, he will be there for you."
Martinez, a member of his school wrestling team who also enjoys ice skating and swimming, has little doubt about who is today.
"I am a cool kid," he said.