President Obama Has Proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month.
By Karen Schloss, Match Coordinator
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”* Stories abound testifying to the miraculous difference a mentor can make in the life of a child or teenager. Those of us who staff the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister program of Jewish Community Services see these transformations daily.
But the ones who say it best are the parents. Here is what they are telling us about the positive changes they see in their children as a result of the special friendship with a Big Brother or Big Sister.
“I am sooo thankful for my son’s Big Brother. He is a positive influence, a friend and a confidant for my son. They spend time together going to ball games, bowling, hiking, eating and just hanging out. He has truly made a great difference.”
“Leah really feels special when she goes out with her Big Sister. She comes home feeling on top of the world—happy, special and appreciated. She is starting to develop new interests through her Big Sister and is gaining confidence and a more positive attitude.”
Alex’s mother puts it this way, “My son really thrives on the attention and guidance he gets from his Big Brother. He just loves discovering new things with him.”
“Mike has made a tremendous difference in Todd’s life! The Big Brother program has allowed Todd to experience what a male role model is all about. They love going to sporting events, fundraisers and just hanging out. We are so lucky to be part of this amazing program.”
“I am very fortunate to have Big Brothers for my two sons. My husband passed away five years ago…. He was matched a few months later and they’re still together. I did not think I’d be lucky enough to have [my younger son] matched, too. However, he got a Big Brother just over a year ago when he turned seven and has someone “just for him.” Having male role models for my sons is something I never thought they’d have when they lost their father.”
“My son and I can’t thank Jewish Big Brothers enough for the past eleven years. When my son was seven, he was matched with a Big Brother, Paul, who has been a consistent friend and role model. Going to lunch on weekends, watching baseball and football games together, having a catch and attending many Big Brother Big Sister sponsored events have been the activities my son looked forward to as he grew up. Their formal relationship just ended because Jared entered college this fall, but they are in touch with each other …. We will always be grateful for the support my son received.”
Again and again, parents of children ages 7-17 whom JCS matches with caring mentors tell us about how “Bigs” become special friends and positive role models for their “Littles.” Just by their getting together a couple of times a month for fun activities, over time, some kind of magic happens in a child’s life.
In the proclamation President Obama issued on January 3, 2012, designating January as National Mentoring Month, he said, “Every day, mentors help young Americans face the challenges of growing into adulthood. By setting a positive example and sharing their time, knowledge and experience, mentors play an essential role in preparing our Nation’s youth for a bright future.” The national organization, Mentor, says: “Mentors help build young people’s character and confidence, expand their universe and help them navigate pathways to successful adulthood. Despite this proven impact, the gap between the number of mentors and the number of young people who need a mentor is still too large.”
If you think your child or the child of someone you know could benefit from having a Big Brother or Sister, or if you’d like to learn more about becoming a “Big,” please contact:
Katie Cohen, Volunteer Coordinator, Jewish Big Brother Big Sister, Jewish Community Services, 410-843-7467, firstname.lastname@example.org
*British author Graham Greene
By Karen Schloss, Match Coordinator, Jewish Big Brother Big Sister, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD
Questions about parenting? Send an email to email@example.com. For more information on parenting click here or call 410-466-9200.