16 Jan January Is National Mentoring Month
January Is National Mentoring Month
We all need a little help now and then, right? I know I wouldn’t have been able to make SEO James into a successful Florida SEO company without the help and guidance of some very special people. And I know I’m not alone – whenever you read one of those stories about really successful people – not just with SEO companies, but in all walks of life – they always mention the name of someone who played a critical role in their success.
Those people are mentors. And they can be critical to a young person’s life, helping them make the decisions and connections that lead to improved opportunities.
I saw a report that says kids want someone in their lives who can help them stay on the right path, so they can graduate from high, maybe even college. They want to succeed. Unfortunately, there’s a big gap between the number of kids, especially for at-risk youth, in need of a mentor and the number of mentors available to help them.
It’s such a shame, because mentoring is proven to really help young people, especially those at-risk kids. With a mentor, they have a better chance of succeeding – at school, at work and at life. And we all benefit when they succeed. It’s a win-win situation.
I found some powerful statistics on mentoring.org. They say that, with a mentor, at-risk youth are:
- 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
- 46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs
- 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
- 130% – that’s more than twice as likely – to say that they held a leadership position in a club or sports team
Estimates indicate that about nine million at-risk kids in this country will grow up without someone to mentor them and guide them. In other words, there’s a real need for mentors – wherever you live.
January is National Mentoring Month. Becoming a mentor and making a difference in the life of a young person would be a great way to start the year! As much as kids love their phones (I have a 15-year old son, so believe me, I know how much they love their phones!), they need someone who will be there for them in real life.
And if you think it’s only the kids who benefit, consider this testimonial from a volunteer with the JFS Community Mentoring Program in Boca Raton: “I have done a lot of volunteering in my life, but being a mentor has been by far, the most rewarding of all. When I first started spending time with my mentee 8 years ago, she was a little behind in school. Now she is taking honors classes! My mentee is like the daughter I never had and I am so proud of how she is growing into a wonderful young woman.”
Here are some of the local programs in South Palm Beach County that need volunteers to mentor kids and provide social support, encouragement and a positive outlook on life:
- JFS Community Mentoring Program
Jewish Family Services in Boca Raton runs a Community Mentoring Program. The program is non-sectarian. The children they serve typically come from single-parent households and are between the ages of 6-17. Mentors must be at least 25 years old, and are carefully screened, including a level 2 criminal background check, motor vehicle history, personal references and need to make a 1-year commitment to spend a minimum of 4 hours a month with their child. Activities can include: lunch, movies, going to the mall, picnic in the park, walking a nature trail, bowling, etc. JFS also has several group activities throughout the year.
- The Milagro Center
Mentors and volunteers play a big role in the lives of the children and youth served at Milagro Center, a nonprofit in Delray Beach with a mission to ensure the social and academic success of children through cultural arts, Living Values, mentoring and academic support. They are always looking for adults who want to share some quality time on-site at the center – either with an individual child or with a group of children aged 5 – 17.
Milagro Center’s Mentoring Miracles program matches a caring adult volunteer one-on-one with a child or teen with the simple goal of showing the child or teen that someone cares about them. By fostering nurturing, supportive and intergenerational relationships, mentors help build a child’s self-esteem and let a child know they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges. Mentors are required to be at least 18 years old and must be able to make a minimum one-year commitment. Mentors are recommended to visit once a week and all visits are held on-site and supervised by Milagro Center staff.
There are many more organizations in need of volunteer mentors. United Way of Palm Beach County supports more than 35 mentoring programs located across Palm Beach County for youth ages 3-24. An average commitment of just 1 hour per week over the course of one year can make the difference in the life of a child. Think about that!
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