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Guest Writer Tim Kehres on Mentoring a Child Has Benefits for Both the Child and the Mentor!

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Why is mentoring a child important?  And, what does it take to be a mentor?  Both answers are simple.  It doesn’t take a lot of time or special skills and the advantages are extraordinary to both the child and the adult mentor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio makes the connection between children in need of a friend and positive role model to adults, age 18 and older.  That’s our mission, and we’ve perfected the process of creating one-on-one relationship in the over 100+ years Big Brothers Big Sisters has been in existence.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African Proverb that we often hear.  It would seem that this proverb points to what child and adolescent research has been finding:  children need to be surrounded by caring adults to maximize their potential into adulthood.  Loving and supportive parents AND other adults to offer guidance, inspiration and encouragement make all the difference.

 

The benefits of such direct adult-to child interaction are obvious where the child is concerned.  Children who have adult mentors are far more likely to outperform their peers in school.  Mentored children are less likely to become involved in violent behavior, drug and alcohol use; and are likely to have more self-confidence and stronger relationships within their own families than kids who don’t have that kind of outside adult guidance.

 

Having an adult friend who is not a parent gives a child an incredible advantage.  If you were lucky enough to have such a friend you know what I mean.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Think what a difference having an adult take the time, as little as an hour or two a week, to show an interest can mean to a child.  Not to teach them reading, or how to throw a ball or do math problems, but to show them how

to live in the world.  Expose them to new opportunities.  Share their talents.  How else are they going to become responsible, caring adults, if we don’t show them?

 

The benefits to the child are easily seen.  But, what often goes unreported are the benefits to the mentors.  Most mentors will tell you they get more out of their relationship than the child.  Most feel a deep sense of personal reward.  Studies have also proven that those who volunteer as mentors are indeed healthier, believe they experience personal growth, and achieve a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.  They also have a lot of fun.

 

There is just no downside to mentoring. 

 

If you are a single parent with a child between the ages of six and 15, consider calling Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio to enroll your child in our mentoring program.  If you are an adult interested

in becoming a friend and positive role model to a child, we’d like to hear from you, too.  Call 1-800-222-2440 or check or website at www.bbbsneo.org

Ask Dr. Susan