National Mentoring Month | Make a difference for a child in need | SierraSun.com

National Mentoring Month | Make a difference for a child in need

Special to the Sun
Courtesy BBBS / Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comLittle Brother Alex and Big Brother Jeff Warnes at the 2011 Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party.
ALL |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Potential. Every child has it. Tragically, not every child will be given the opportunity to fulfill his or hers.

Last year, 33 Tahoe-Truckee at-risk children were given a big push toward reaching their goals because of a relationship formed with a caring adult mentor and#8212; a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency.

Studies show at-risk youth matched with adult mentors have improved self confidence; better academic performance and better behavior in the classroom; more meaningful relationships with their peers, their family and other adults; a much higher likelihood of graduating from college; and a much greater chance of contributing positively to their community throughout their lives.

In addition, mentors themselves report much greater levels of overall happiness and satisfaction than non-mentors, illustrating the benefits of mentoring go both ways.

But while Big Brothers Big Sisters continues to grow their programs in the region, there remain 16 boys and nine girls in our community who have not yet been matched, some of whom have been waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister for more than two years now.

Which is why Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe is planning to celebrate National Mentoring Month this January with a mentor recruitment and needs awareness campaign, because every child who doesn’t fulfill his or her potential is a lost opportunity.

and#8220;We are in real need of male volunteers in the community who want to have fun and spend some quality time with a great boy on our waiting list,and#8221; said Peggy Martin, Truckee program manager. and#8220;We currently have 16 boys on the waiting list and have not had a male volunteer in a year, which means that we’re now turning away boys from our waiting list and#8211; even those who desperately need a mentor. It does not take much to make an impact and have a positive effect on a child’s life. And volunteers should not be surprised if it changes their life too.and#8221;-

Please help the agency find 25 local mentors and make these matches happen!

Donate. Volunteer. Spread the word.

It could be the start of something BIG for a local child.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe serves at-risk children from Nevada City and Grass Valley to Truckee, Kings Beach and Tahoe City.

Becoming a mentor is easier and less time-consuming than most people think. Because of the structure provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters, matches are thoroughly screened beforehand and continually supported by professional staff throughout the match’s duration, meaning mentors can concentrate on having fun with their Little Brother or Sister.

New mentors should commit to meeting with their Little Brother or Sister for an average of one hour a week for at least a year; however, those requirements are extremely flexible and almost any schedule can be accommodated with a commitment.

No special skills are required and#8212; just an earnest desire to be there for a child in need of a caring role model. Please help match these children with Big Brothers and For more information, visit http://www.bigsofnc.org or call 530-587-7717.

You might already know a local Big Brother or Big Sister. Our roster includes: Leslie Trippy, Deanna Quilan, Diane Rosman, Leslie Suen, Audrey Zmuda, Ann Askin, Tessa Schwab, Carole Sesko, Jean Brooks, Megan Lechner, Meri McEneny, Jamie Schou, Todd Seaborg, Paul Raymore, Jim Marymee, Ryan Hall, Barry Collins, Ray Salazar, John Eichhorn, Arnold Unger, Timothy Lyons, Pete Hazel, Jeff Warnes, Kristine Schneller, Alexandra (Lexi) Pillat and Judy Tokubo.

If you do know someone on the list, give them a call and ask them about their experience in our program. If you donand#8217;t, feel free to call Big Brother Paul Raymore at 530-426-2691.

President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation designating January as National Mentoring Month, saying, and#8220;Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood. By setting a positive example and sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing our nation’s youth for a bright future. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate the contributions of all those who cultivate a supportive environment for the next generation, and we recommit to expanding mentorship opportunities across our countryand#8230;and#8221;

Read the full text of President Obama’s proclamation at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/28/presidential-proclamation-national-mentoring-month-2012.

and#8220;Mentors, backed by quality mentoring programs, play a powerful role in preventing substance abuse and youth violence, as well as boosting academic achievement and workforce readiness. Studies have shown a more than 250 percent return on a $1 investment in mentoring and myriad quality of life benefits to the mentor, too. Mentors help build young people’s character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood. Despite this proven impact, the gap between the number of mentors and the number of young people who need a mentor is still too large.and#8221;