Mentoring program making a difference

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

How much of a difference can an hour or a week make?

In the lives of some teenagers, those two hours spent with mentors may be deciding factor that keeps them from using illegal drugs or alcohol; from skipping class; or, worse yet, from dropping out of school.

Sound like extrapolation?

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Well, it isn’t.

According to a researchers who studied nearly 960 boys and girls in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, these youngsters were 46 percent less likely than their peers to begin using illegal drugs; 27 percent less likely to use alcohol; 52 percent less likely to skip school; 37 percent less likely to skip a class; one-third less likely to hit someone; and more confident of their performance in schoolwork and their relationships with their families.

Much of the positive influence can be tied to the two hours a week the youngsters spent with their mentors, or “Bigs” and the program calls the adult volunteers who agree to spend time with the children.

Here in Pike County, 50 youngsters are paired with adult mentors. And program organizers say more are waiting to participate, if adult volunteers could be found.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has proven to be an effective tool for helping young people through the challenging years of adolescence. By simply spending their time, either in the community or in the classrooms, adults show these youngsters that their care; that they are interested in what these children have to say; and, by their behavior, they model how to act constructively in society.

We encourage you to consider if you can spare the time to make a difference in the life of a young person and in the future of our community.

For more information about the program, which is funded by the United Way, you can call 566-2454.