National effort encourages more adults to mentor youth

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters marks National Mentoring Month with a call to action to community members interested in helping youth become successful and productive citizens.

The designation of National Mentoring Month, established by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, sets out to energize citizens to become mentors. This year’s national spokesperson is General Colin L. Powell.

Big Brother Michael Veatch attended a school play to see his Little Brother George perform in his role as king. Matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters school-mentoring program, Veatch visits George at Polk Central School weekly to help with schoolwork or reading. The highlight of many a session ends with a game of chess or another board game. According to his Big Brother, George has become quite the chess player. (photo submitted)

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff carefully matches children who face adversity with caring mentors in long-term, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships. Independent studies show improvement in school, behavior, self-esteem and aspirations for children enrolled in BBBS.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters salutes all of the mentors in their programs and thanks them for sharing their time, talents and interests with youth.

To get involved, contact the Polk County office at 828-859-9230 or email Karen Dacey, program coordinator, at Volunteers may serve in either the traditional community-based program or the school-based mentors and matches program.

For those preferring not to commit to a mentoring relationship, the Advisory Council provides a way for an adult to be involved behind-the-scenes and help with recruitment and fundraising efforts in the local community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes such as educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.

Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course.

The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those from single or low-income households, or in families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 100-year history. With about 350 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. Learn more at

– article submitted by Karen Dacey