By Tom Hall
One of the best indicators of a child’s success is whether or not there is a caring adult in their life. You can be that caring adult for a child and make a difference. January is National Mentoring Month and there is no better time than now to make that commitment. The most important thing we can do to assure the world is a better place is to strengthen our youth and make sure they have the tools to become healthy and happy adults.
In 2013, well over 24 and half million children in this country were living in single-headed households. Another 400,000 were living in settings without any permanent families.
Mentoring matches children and adolescents with caring adults to provide support, guidance and friendship. Mentors go with their mentees to ball games, hikes, museums trips, movies or just spend time talking. Mentors support at-risk youth through academic, social and personal challenges by providing guidance and friendship. Mentoring doesn’t require any special skills, just a caring heart and a commitment to wanting to see children grow-up to be healthy adults.
The term mentor comes from ancient Greek meaning “wise advisor.” In Greek Mythology, when Odysseus left to participate in the Trojan War he left his son, Telemachus, in the care of his dear friend Mentor. Mentor provided guidance to his friend’s fatherless-son.
LUK has been providing mentoring services to disadvantaged youth from Central Massachusetts since 2004 and during that time we have matched over 300 youth with caring mentors. Through LUK’s Mentoring Program, we train and provide ongoing support to mentors and their mentees. The LUK Mentoring Program staff are available in person and by phone for support, ongoing training and direction for the mentors. The program also holds monthly activities and celebrations for mentors and their mentees. In addition, LUK has on-call support 24-hours a day, 365 days per year available to the mentors.
The average person spends 1,283 hours per year watching TV, 46 hours sitting in traffic, 384 hours per year surfing the internet, 552 hours on the phone – wouldn’t you rather spend your time mentoring? All it takes is an hour a week and you can have a significant impact on a child who otherwise might not have a healthy adult role model in their life.
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world” – Brandi Snyder