Some people go to the same church week after week, but never get to know the people in the next pew or across the aisle.
It's especially true when they are separated by decades in age. Teens congregate with teens, and adults seek out other adults.
But that is not the trend at First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring where adults, preteens and teens find a way to connect and have been doing so for 16 years.
Two teams among the 30 pairs participating in the mentoring program at First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring are (from left) Cameron Norris, Don 'Red' Myers, Amy Knisely and Maddie Longenecker, all of Roaring Spring.
The friendships begin when the youths are sixth-graders and continue until they graduate from high school under the church's mentoring program.
This fall, 14 new preteens and teens will join the program where about 30 teams of two are already hooked up.
Janie Myers, originator and organizer of the program, said the process begins with her asking parents for permission for their children to be mentored.
"The kids get all excited about it. It's like a big treat," Myers of Roaring Spring said.
After their parents give the OK, it's the kids' turn to pick a mentor for one year. Each year, the youth has the opportunity to remain with that person or select someone else. An adult can also bow out if for some reason he or she cannot continue in the program.
"We have only had six [youths] change mentors out of the entire 16 years," Myers said.
The mentor is someone who lends support and a listening ear to the teens beyond their family circle.
Brad Dick, 17, of Roaring Spring chose Mitch Frederick as his mentor about five years ago.
"It's nice," Brad said of the friendship. "If I ever need to talk to someone other than my family, I can talk to Mitch. He's always there."
"I can get a second opinion from him on work ideas and things like that," he said.
Brad's love for football is an interest they share. He plays center and defensive end for Central High School where he is a senior.
Mitch Frederick is president of the Quarterback Club, and his son, Adam, plays tight end for the team. He said he sees Brad at warm-ups, meals after away games and the Quarterback Club picnic held in August to kick off the season.
At church, Brad sits with other teen athletes in the balcony section, a row in front of the pew where the Fredericks sit.
"You sort of get a special bond [from mentoring]," Mitch Frederick said.
As the owner of Frederick's Meat Market, he also sees Brad when he comes to the shop to have his deer processed. He usually gets a buck or doe every year, Mitch Frederick said.
"I'm an older friend with a lot of the same interests," he said, adding that they both enjoy NASCAR.
Mitch Frederick said he travels to Daytona Beach, Fla., in February for racing events and he usually brings Brad back a hat or shirt featuring Jimmie Johnson, (Brad's favorite driver).
Although they attend the same church, Mitch Frederick said he does not really talk to Brad about spiritual issues.
"There are certain values that you display; you don't necessarily talk about them. You walk the walk. He knows where I am, what I stand for," Mitch Frederick said.
Frederick's wife, Bethann, mentors Chelsey Dick, Brad's younger sister.
Bethann Frederick thinks Chelsey selected her because she was the director of the children's choir.
"She's a good singer. She and I just sort of clicked," Bethann Frederick said.
She tries to spend one afternoon a month with Chelsey, and they often go for dessert, selecting a different restaurant each time.
"It's a fun age," she said of Chelsey, who attends Spring Cove Middle School."
She said when she sees Chelsey at functions such as church or football events, she says hello to her. Bethann Frederick said it lets her know that someone cares.
Shopping and going to lunch are two of the activities Amy Knisely of Roaring Spring does with Maddie Longenecker.
They also keep in touch through texting and Facebook.
Knisely has known Maddie since the teen was 4 years old. Knisely's son and Maddie's brother played Little League together about 12 years ago, and Knisely invited the preschooler to attend vacation Bible school.
Soon after that the Longeneckers began attending First Church of the Brethren, and now Maddie helps Knisely with vacation Bible school.
"I just love to sit and talk with her," Knisely said. "[Subjects go] from technology to fashion to what she is going to do with the rest of her life."
Knisely believes the program is beneficial to teens as well as the mentor.
She said that teens communicate through texting and cellphones, but the time they spend face to face with another adult enhances their life.
"They are not looking at an iPad," she said. "It's another social connection."
She said it also provides a level of support from an adult outside of family.
"As a parent, I would appreciate someone I could trust being an adult friend to my child," she said.
Knisely, who has two boys younger and one older than Maddie, said in turn the friendship is a benefit to her.
"She makes me laugh and think," Knisely said of Maddie. "She gives me a perspective I don't get from my kids."
Myers said she believes the program makes the adults see the teens as equals. She said the adults have experience, knowledge and common sense, but the teens are savvy when it comes to technology and the pace of modern living.
"They have so much to offer," she said of the teens.
It also gives them an opportunity to express feelings and concerns to an adult who may contribute a different perspective or give them an answer without judging their thoughts or actions.
Myers first saw a need for youths and adults to connect when she was a youth adviser. She said the youths did not seem to know the adults in the church who did not have children their ages.
She learned about the mentoring program at a workshop and helps about one church a year start its own program.
At First Church of the Brethren, the program continues to thrive and seems to create some lasting bonds.
Mitch Frederick was a mentor to Brenton Forshey about eight or nine years ago. Forshey is an engineer, living in the state of Washington. They kept in touch during Forshey's college years, and the Fredericks attended his wedding.
"When he comes back home, we get together," Mitch Frederick said.