January is National Mentoring Month. National Mentoring Month (NMM) is the time each year when our nation spotlights the importance of Mentors and the need for every child to have a caring adult in his or her life. When you serve as a mentor, you enrich your own life as much as you do the life of a child.
To be a mentor, you don’t need special skills, just an ability to listen and to offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person. And you’ll be amazed by how much you’ll get out of the experience.
For over 30 years, Big Buddy has worked to provide the underserved children of Baton Rouge with Mentors who serve as strong role models and establish and sustain positive relationships with their Mentees (Little Buddies) providing these youth with life changing experiences.
Mentors help youth to overcome the challenges that hinder success in life. Youth that have limited access to pro-social opportunities are more likely to engage in destructive behaviors and this has a direct effect on the economic growth of our community. Social conditions directly impacted by mentors include:
Poverty. 64% of children living within the city limits of Baton Rouge live in high-poverty neighborhoods. Mentors provide youth with experiences outside of their immediate communities thus giving them goals to strive for.
Crime. Our city has the highest crime rate per capita in Louisiana and it can be estimated that 2,124 children in our community has a parent that is incarcerated in state or federal prison. Mentoring can address risk factors that promote academic success and positive youth development to break the cycle of crime.
Academic Failure. Louisiana Dept. of Education ranked the East Baton Rouge Parish School District in the bottom third out of 66 districts in the state. Mentors provide additional help with academic skills that can mean the difference between a youth failing or passing.
The Big Buddy Program seeks to match caring adult role models with youth in need of a special friend. Mentors/Big Buddies can guide youth in good decision-making and give them a sense of direction and purpose for their futures. Participation in positive school and community activities helps provide protection for youth against the many negative factors that surround them daily.
“Who Mentored You?” Take a moment to post a tribute here to your Mentor. Express your appreciation for all to see.
Help Them Get There – BE A MENTOR!