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In 2014, Why Not Volunteer to be a Mentor?

by and on January 09, 2014 10:00 AM

What’s on your New Year’s resolution list this year?

For many people, the list includes losing weight, exercising more and getting organized.

This year, think about adding something to that list that could improve both your life and someone else’s.

Why not make 2014 the year that you make a difference in a child’s life? This is the year to consider making a New Year’s resolution to mentor a child.

The Youth Service Bureau (YSB) is celebrating its Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program this month. January is National Mentoring Month, and the local BBBS program serves hundreds of young people every day who are matched with an adult volunteer mentor.

Locally, BBBS has been serving children and youth in Centre County for more than 40 years. The program builds relationships between responsible adults and children ages 5-17 that are in need of a positive role model.

Volunteer mentors offer support and friendship to kids who could benefit from having an additional positive adult presence in their lives. Research shows that kids involved in quality mentoring relationships are more likely to make healthy choices and subsequently do better at home, in school, and in the community.

National Mentoring Month was started in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. During January each year, national attention is focused on the need for mentors, as well as how everyone — individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and non-profits — can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for young people.

The theme of this year’s national campaign is “Be Someone Who Matters to Someone Who Matters.”

On a local level, community members are needed who are looking to “be someone who matters.” Although BBBS of Centre County serves hundreds of kids annually through its mentoring programs, there is always a significant need for mentors, with nearly a hundred kids ready and waiting to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister.

In recognition of National Mentoring Month 2014, the YSB is launching a “50 Bigs in 50 Days” campaign to draw community-wide attention to the local need for mentors. The campaign will kick off on “Thank Your Mentor Day” on Jan. 16, a day when people are encouraged to reach out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guided them, and had a lasting, positive impact on their lives.

As you are writing down your “to do” list for the new year to improve yourself, think of adding these 10 things you can start with in January:

  1. Learn more about mentoring in your community by calling the YSB office at 237-5731 or Click HERE to visit our website.
  2. Join "I Am a Mentor" Day on January 9 and share your experience on social media using the hashtag, #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  3. Partner with a mentoring organization to expand quality mentoring opportunities for young people in your community.
  4. Share stories about mentoring in your community on social media using the hashtag, #MentoringWorks!
  5. Thank your mentor on Jan. 16 during “Thank Your Mentor Day!” Think about the mentors in your life, send them a thank you card and tell them thank you on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  6. Read the latest research and find resources on mentoring.
  7. Serve your community on MLK Day of Service on Jan. 20 by looking for a mentoring opportunity in your area.
  8. Make a donation to a mentoring organization in your community.
  9. If you know someone who would be a great mentor in your neighborhood or community, please share this information and encourage that person to find out more.

Attend a local volunteer orientation session to see if becoming a mentor is the right volunteer opportunity for you. Orientation sessions are offered weekly, so please contact the YSB at the number listed above or e-mail to sign up.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

The Youth Service Bureau ensures that children, youth, and families will have opportunities to realize and fulfill their potential for growth and development through their participation in a continuum of community-based, family-based, and residential programs.
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