A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. — Oprah Winfrey
January is National Mentoring Month and it’s the perfect time to look at how the kindness of a mentor can impact children and young adults. According to Mentoring.org, youth that meet consistently with their mentors show that they are:
- 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs
- 81 percent more likely to participate in regular sports or extracurriculars
- 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college
Additionally, youth who are mentored reported a reduction in feelings of depression which is another vital benefit. Mentors share life experience and guide youth toward making the right decisions. Fostering these relationships of trust and support can be the cornerstone on which the youth’s bright future is built.
Trust and support are a central part of communities in general. The Dallas Big Brothers Big Sisters program is trying to address the ever-widening gap of mistrust between the community and the police with a unique mentorship program. Their Bigs in Blue initiative pairs children in the community with area police officers, giving the opportunity for trust and friendships to bloom.
Officer Christy Chamberlain from the Dallas police gang unit and 7-year-old Nyla are one of the pairs from the program. Dallas TV station KSDK quoted Chamberlain saying, “We see kids they’re so young and they’re involved in really violent crimes. And it’s just they need mentors, they need someone.” Chamberlain and Nyla go on frequent outings together, including to the zoo and possibly an upcoming visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Dallas. Chamberlain even got them matching holiday sweaters this season.
As tensions between police and communities continue to rise, programs like Bigs in Blue which offers young children the opportunity to be mentored by law enforcement could make a world of difference. It showcases how a bit of kindness can build a solid foundation for trust and the future.
Mentorship is one of the most rewarding and important acts of kindness. Providing youth with a trusted and stable resource for support and guidance not only helps the individual child, but also their family, friends and the community as a whole. Mentors’ kindness shines through by giving so much more than their time. Becoming truly invested in a child’s future and providing them with the encouragement and dependability they need to succeed is one of the kindest acts any adult can perform.
How have you seen mentoring positively impact the youth in your community? Learn more from The National Mentoring Partnership.