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Be someone who matters to someone who matters at Truckee-Tahoe

Special to the Sun

This January marks the 14th annual National Mentoring Month, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.

“There is a powerful mentoring effect demonstrated by research and the experiences of young people who are connected to a mentor,” said Peggy Martin, Community Development Director for BBBS. “Mentoring is linked to improved academic, social and economic prospects for your people, and that ultimately strengthens our community.”

Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities.

For example, in a recent national report called “The Mentoring Effect,” young people who were at risk for not completing high school, but who had a mentor, were 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor.

They were also:

81 percent more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.

78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.

More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

This same report found that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor.

Today, in our community, there are many kids who could benefit from having a mentor. We have 12 kids on the waitlist, but many more. We could expand those numbers if we just got the volunteers.

As we focus on engaging more community members in volunteering as mentors, we will share a simple message: “Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters.”

Mentoring relationships are basic human connections that let a young person know that they matter, and mentors frequently report back that their relationships make them feel like someone who matters in another person’s life

Important dates for this public awareness campaign include:

Jan 15: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.

Jan, 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.

National Mentoring Month is led by “MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership” and the Harvard School of Public Health, with support from the Highland Street Foundation.

Each year since its launch in 2002, National Mentoring Month has enjoyed the strong support of the president and the United States Congress.

Other prominent individuals who have participated in the campaign include: Maya Angelou, former President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Quincy Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Russell and Usher.

This article was submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe. To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to find volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.bigsofnc.org or call 530-587-7717.


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