Mentoring – it’s something we seek from a very young age and on into adulthood. My husband is a Gifted and Talented teacher in our local public school system; he daily comes home with stories of children in dire need of an adult relationship, a mentor, someone that can have a positive impact on their lives. Many youth are hungry for guidance, an adult to teach them important life lessons, support them and be a safe, responsible friend to them. Mentoring a young person can open a world of possibilities and opportunities that might not happen otherwise. Children need positive relationships with caring adults. Period.
My husband has been blessed with the opportunity to mentor the children in his program but there are so many more still in need of a mentoring.
One of the greatest mentors in my life is a women named Connie Hultquist, a dear women who goes out of her way daily to mentor girls, women and wives. I learned so many great lessons from her, she shared encouragement and wisdom that helped form the woman and mother I am today. I am thankful for the years of mentoring she so graciously volunteered and the time, energy and heart she continues to give.
This week, we celebrate National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. Nowhere else is this seen more dramatically than when an adult becomes a mentor to a youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Another great need is the need for Latino Big Brothers and Big Sisters. About 20% of the children served by BB BS are Latino – a number quickly increasing. Yet, only 9% of our Bigs are Latino. Latinos know all too well the variety of challenges Hispanic children face in America today. Many of the organization’s Latino Littles come from immigrant families and are adjusting to the nuances of a new culture. And, like all young people, they face the lure of dangerous influences such as gangs and the temptation of drugs. In addition, while more than 70% of the children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys, only 3 of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is currently seeking fellow Latinos to volunteer as Bigs to the Littles in their own community. Latinos have a strong heritage of volunteering. You can make a substantial difference by not only helping one child, but your entire community. Let’s celebrate National Volunteer Week by giving back to our youth!
Start something big in the Latino community by becoming a Big Brother, a Big Sister or a donor today. Visit www.latinobigs.org or www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org for more information about volunteering as a ‘Big.’ You can also follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook to learn more.
Did you have a mentor growing up?