The Need for Mentors
The Need for Mentors
Mentors change kids’ lives for the better, forever. For over 50 years Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas has proved this to be true. However, far too many kids lack the support they need to fully realize their potential.
So, we are asking for your help. There are 200 children on our waiting list, and we have an urgent need for more mentors.
January is National Mentoring Month. It is a perfect time to appeal to the community for volunteers to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters. “This is a significant need,” said Kedrick Jeffries, BBBS CEO. “People want to know what they can do to help our community. Becoming a mentor is a way you can make a positive impact.”
“A strong relationship with a caring adult can make a lasting difference for a young person,” he continued. “It will help them set their sights on a brighter future and help them stay on a path to reach their full potential.”
Take for example, a family on our waitlist who’ve seen firsthand the success a mentor provides, but who waited years for a match to be made.
J is a sixth-grade student with special needs. According to his mom Rosemary, meeting his needs was sometimes difficult for their family. “We are a big family, 5 children, so finding one-to-one time for each child is hard, even though we are very intentional about having family time,” said Rosemary. “There were just not enough of us to go around.”
J’s parents thought an outside resource might help. ”J was just not interested in anything or in doing anything,” said Rosemary.
They waited 3 years for a mentor. A problem that was compounded by the fact that they live in a small rural community.
Then J was matched with Big Brother Raul and, according to Rosemary, the wait was well worth it. “It was little things that added up,” she said. “I can’t really measure and emphasize what a big impact the match had.”
“J went through a time that he wouldn’t comb his hair,” laughed Rosemary. “He said that was the style. But, when Raul said, ‘Hey, dude, what’s with your hair?’ J started taking an interest in combing his hair.”
J was initially fearful about trying new activities, but Raul encouraged him to try jiu jitsu, and it turned out he was very good at it. “J did really well,” said Rosemary, “and that turned his grades around, he started doing better in school.”
That experience led J to participate in football, which he loves, and which has resulted in his being on the A/B honor roll. “He hasn’t done that since second grade,” said Rosemary. “I wouldn’t allow him to play unless he had good grades, but Raul encouraged him to meet those expectations.”
“Being with a Big Brother allows J to realize his worth, and to realize his feelings do matter.”
The match also inspired J to explore his interests, specifically utilizing his skills in fixing things. Though he has always had an interest in taking things apart and putting them back together, it wasn’t until he spent time working on cars with his Big Brother that J started putting his talent to use around the house. “We had a trash can with an automatic lid that stopped working,” said Rosemary. “J got his tool kit and ended up getting it to work again. It was his match that gave him the confidence to apply his skills.”
Rosemary and her husband have two other kids who are currently on the waitlist for a mentor. “It is such a positive experience,” said Rosemary. “I’d wait another 3 years if I could get someone as wonderful as Raul.”
What would she say to encourage someone to be a mentor?
“Kids grow up in a community and they give back what the community invests in them,” said Rosemary. “Mentors are so needed. When a kid has a mentor, it translates back to their home, to the classroom, to church, to all areas of the community. Whatever help Raul gives to my kid he’s giving out to the whole community.”
Please help us find more mentors for the kids on our waiting list so that they can experience the benefits and growth that come from these relationships as well.