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Mentoring matters: helping those in need

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

This January our country celebrates the 13th annual National Mentoring Month, and D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring programs to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults.
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About D.A. Blodgett- St. John:

D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s is an accredited agency that works in partnership with the community providing comprehensive services to children and families, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, foster care, adoption, and family support, as well as, residential treatment and emergency shelter care. We have been serving children since 1887.

This January our country celebrates the 13th annual National Mentoring Month, and D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is participating in this campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring programs to connect more of our community’s young people with caring adults. We are encouraging our community members to become a mentor to a child or young mom by participating in our Big Brother Big Sister or Sisters in Support programs.

What Does It Take to Be a Big Brother or Big Sister?

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nationally recognized mentoring program, matching children from the ages of 5 to 17, usually living in a single-parent home. These children may have experienced some difficulty in school, some inadequate social skills, and limited opportunity to develop their interests.  Big Brothers Big Sisters recruits, assesses, screens, and trains Big Brother and Big Sister applicants. Little Brother and Little Sister applicants and their families are assessed as well. Approved Big Brothers and Big Sisters are matched to waiting, assessed Little Brothers and Little Sisters with the goal of maintaining each match for at least one year responsibilities.

“Being a Big Brother or Big Sister makes a BIG difference in the life of the child. Many times we receive letters about the benefits these mentors and the program offer," says Paul Miller, Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters at D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s. "One letter in particular written by a grandmother said; ‘Words cannot express my appreciation and gratitude for all that this program has done for my Grandson. He has been inspired to be a better person. I have seen the change in his behavior, attitude and it has touched our lives with kindness.’ This is a wonderful program and we encourage more community members to get involved."

Sister in Support Program

Carrying a child and being a mom can be difficult and overwhelming whoever you are. We have a great way to help pregnant women, first time mothers, and/or mothers of many children in our Sisters-In-Support program. It’s a program where young mothers in need are matched with female mentors in the community. Volunteer “Sisters” act as friends and role models to help these women who are learning to cope with parenting, school, and financial. Most Sisters-In-Support (SIS) clients are teenagers, but others are in their early twenties and may have more than one child. Some are pregnant; others already have one or more children. Some live with family; others live on their own. All of the moms participate in the SIS program voluntarily. You must be at least twenty years old or a college student, and have the use of a car. We ask for a one-year commitment to spend time once a week with a young mom and her child. Remember, you do not have to be a mom to help a mom.

“Sisters in Support is about authentic relationships between young mothers and adult female mentors. The young mothers in this program learn to confide in their mentors and ask for advice.  The mentors learn to share their own experiences and what they’ve learned from their mistakes.  Throughout the relationship, the mentors then work with the young mothers to help them reach their goals, recognizing that even baby steps need to be celebrated.  Only through this kind of trust, honesty and accountability can lives be changed,” says Stephanie Sheler, Social Worker at D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s Sisters in Support Program.

Important dates for this public awareness campaign:

  • January 16, 2014: “Thank Your Mentor Day,” when we encourage anyone who has had a mentor to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #SomeoneWhoMatters.
  • January 20, 2014: Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when our nation will shine a spotlight on volunteerism and inspire people seeking service opportunities to learn more about mentoring.

Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors can play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible decisions, stay focused and engaged in school, and reduce or avoid risky behavior like skipping school, drug use and other negative activities. Quality mentoring relationships lead to a significant increase in a young person’s prospects for leading a healthy and productive life, strengthening families and, ultimately, our community.

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR: the National Mentoring Partnership, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and United Way Worldwide.

To learn more about becoming a mentor at D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s website or on Facebook.

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