There is truth in the idea that it takes a whole village to raise a child. The challenges facing our families and our youth are often daunting. According to MENTOR, nearly half the population of young people, 8-21 are in situations putting them at risk for not reaching their potential (www.mentoring.org). Forty percent (40%) of youth say they want more adults to whom they can turn to for help and support in their lives (www.americaspromise.org). One way this need can be filled is through involving youth in quality mentoring programs.
Mentoring programs partner youth with a caring person who can offer guidance, support, encouragement and friendship. By spending a few hours a month over the course of a year or more, a mentor can make a significant impact in the life of a young person, while also having a lot of fun. Youth who have mentors:
- Do better in school
- Have better school attendance
- Feel better about school
- Have better relationships with their family and friends
- Communicate better
- Are less at risk for substance abuse and other negative behaviors
In general, mentoring builds upon a youth’s strengths while offering protective factors to negative influences around them. The benefits of mentoring are great. So is the need for volunteers to be mentors. Nationally, for every child that does have a mentor, five more are in need of one. A significant percentage of those are boys in need of a positive, male role model.
Getting involved in mentoring is easy! Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western New Hampshire is matching youth and mentors throughout the Monadnock, Upper Valley and Sullivan County regions. Adults can volunteer for the Community-Based program. High-school and college students can volunteer for the Site-Based program. Hanging out, having fun for just a few hours a month can make the difference of a lifetime. To get started being a mentor, call 603-263-0849 or visit our website at www.bbbswnh.org.