January is National Mentoring Month.
By Karen Schloss, Match Support Coordinator
This month we celebrate mentors and the positive effects they can have on young lives, and highlight the need for more mentors. Did you know that children who have mentors do better in school, have improved self-esteem and social skills, and are less likely to engage in substance use and abuse? The bipartisan Resolution passed by the U.S. Senate in 2010 established National Mentoring Month to “call attention to the critical role mentors play in helping young people realize their potential,” and pointed out that “in addition to preparing young people for school, work and life, it is extremely rewarding for those serving as mentors.”
Here, in the words of one mother, is an appreciation of what a mentor can do for a child.
“I am a single, widowed, full time working Mom of two sons, ages 12 and 16. Their Dad passed away a little over 3 years ago. I was told about the Jewish Big Brother program from a friend a couple of months after he passed.
“Approximately 6 months after the death, I decided to inquire about the program because I wanted my sons to have a male role model in their life. I know that the person would never replace their Dad, but just to have another male person in their life was important to me. Someone that would just hang out with them and have similar interests and just “have fun.”
“I believe that having Big Brothers for my kids has impacted their lives in so many ways. They have special foods that they eat together, go to movies, a Ravens game, or text when they want to catch up. It gives me comfort to know that my sons can always call their Bigs or text them when they just want to either hang out or chat.
“There are many qualities that I admire in both of these Big Brothers. They are compassionate, responsible, fun, and just good guys. In fact, when my Dad passed away last year, both Big Brothers attended the funeral. I was really touched.
“I would encourage other families to participate in the Jewish Big Brother matching program because it allows the “Littles” to create new friendships and long lasting relationships with male role models. It is another social outlet that allows the “Littles” to bond and create new memories. I am so thankful for the Big Brothers in my sons’ lives.”
For some “Littles” their relationship with their Big Brother or Big Sister is so powerful that when they grow up, they want to give to a child what they received. Read one such story in “My Journey from Little Brother to Big.”
If you are a parent and think your child could benefit from having a Big Brother or Big Sister, click here: http://www.jcsbaltimore.org/parenting/jewish-big-brother-big-sister/
If you want to make a difference in the life of a child, please consider becoming a “Big.” A few hours a month is all it takes, and JCS provides training and support. Click here to learn more.