Force for Change: Defending potential of children

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.‚” — Josh Shipp

Potential lives within every kid. Yet, more than 8.5 million kids are still in need of someone who will stand in their corner. Today’s youth face a variety of challenges and a much more complex world. Children in our local communities are not immune from the risk factors that get in the way of their biggest possible future. Millions of children need a caring adult role model. When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors, focus on academics, and have higher aspirations. Positive, healthy relationships with caring adults empower youth to achieve their fullest potential.

This is your call to action. Be someone who stands up for kids, be an ally for youth and invest time and energy in the relationships you share with young people. Start with the children who are already a part of your life. In addition, consider giving a gift of your time by volunteering for a youth serving organization. There are many ways to do this and so many worthwhile organizations and opportunities in our community. Across the country, volunteerism is declining, especially among younger generations. Now is the time to be a force for change, give the gift of your time, there is a vital need.

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of U.P.Kids we have felt the decline in volunteerism in recent years. We are in need of volunteers who are willing to step up to mentor a child. In our local community, many children are waiting to be matched to a volunteer through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The need is urgent. Every day, we hear stories about what youth are facing in the Copper Country and we know having a Big Brother or Big Sister can help youth navigate those challenges.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters programs create long‚Äêlasting, meaningful mentoring relationships for youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ evidence‚Äêbased mentoring programs are designed to create positive, measurable outcomes for youth. Research shows that children are more likely to excel and make better choices in their lives when they have experienced the quiet power of a positive mentoring relationship. A mentor can help to provide the tools and support a child needs to deal with the pressures of growing up with the challenges of today’s world. Mentoring is a powerful means to help keep kids on the right path. Children with a Big Brother or a Big Sister show real differences in their personal and academic lives. They are more confident, doing better in school and getting along better with their families and peers.

There is no expedient route to the rewards of mentoring… there are no short cuts to making a real difference. However, the key ingredient to a successful mentoring relationship is time. The special ingredient for a Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring relationship is the intentionality with which we approach and utilize that time. Intentionality is a pervasive feature in all that we do: in our vision, our hopes, and our belief system. It is a deliberate and purposeful effort to build a strong and positive relationship that is guided by specific goals and defined outcomes for the child. Our effort is driven by our vision that all children thrive and achieve success in life. We hope to encourage and empower children to reach their full potential and to become productive, contributing members of our communities. We believe that investing in young people is one of the wisest investments one can make which offers immeasurable and limitless possibilities.

We are here to defend every kid’s potential. We are ready to build the biggest possible future, together.

More information is available online at upkids.com/bbbs.

Maggie Munch is program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters for U.P. Kids.

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