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Empowering youth…building brighter futures

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal him his own.” — Benjamin Disraeli.

Imagine a world where all young people feel empowered, encouraged and understood. Mentors can make that world a reality. Mentoring is a critical component in young people’s lives, helping them make the decisions and connections that lead to opportunity.

Positive adult relationships fulfill a fundamental need for children offering support and belongingness. Connect kids with someone who cares, give them time, give them attention, give them a mentor and the possibilities are limitless. Studies have shown that children who connect with a mentor learn more; they achieve more; they’re healthier for longer and more likely to avoid negative influences.

This translates to real impact in our communities. Mentoring relationships are powerful tools for connection and are critical to building a brighter future for us all.

Mentoring has positive impacts on youth. Research shows that mentors play a vital role in providing young people with tools to strive and thrive, to attend and engage in school, and to reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use. In a nationwide survey of Big Brothers Big Sisters programs 94% of children matched to a mentor said they have confidence they will achieve their goals. In addition, 93% of the children with a mentor said having an additional caring adult who looks out for them is very important in helping them to achieve their goals.

These young people are also: 55% more likely to be enrolled in college; 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities; 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities; and more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

Yet, the same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters defends, inspires and ignites the potential of youth through mentoring relationships every day. But for every child who has been paired with a caring adult mentor, there are those still waiting their turn: over 25 children in the Copper Country alone are standing still, waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister. And, there are many more children beyond the waiting list in our own community that could benefit from a mentor.

Sometimes waiting for a mentor can be more than a two-year process. Sometimes children on our waiting list never get matched to a Big because we simply do not have enough folks standing up to volunteer. Let’s make today the day we end the wait. Even one kid waiting on a mentor is one too many.

The power of mentorship can transform a child’s life, and the right experience at the right time can make a huge difference. You can help make that difference. When a child has an additional caring person in their life who actively believes in them, that person has the power to change their life for the better, forever. You can play a key role in helping to end the wait. Let’s find these kids a mentor.

If you have a passion to help kids, consider becoming a Big today! Just a few hours each week can make an impact on the life of a child–and the experience will make an impact on you, as a volunteer, too. It’s time. Join Big Brothers Big Sisters and be a part of a one-to-one revolution to change two lives.

An additional caring person in a child’s life can make all the difference in helping young people find and follow their passion, strive in school, and thrive wherever they are. What are you waiting for?

Maggie Munch is the program director at UP Kids.

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