Thankful For The Mentors In My Life & The opportunity To Mentor Others! #LatinoBigs

Hey All!

As Thanksgiving approaches I reflect on all the things I am thankful for. I think back on all the amazing people I had in my life who were my mentors and who were the people who encouraged me to succeed and go after my dreams. I had many mentors growing up in the inner cities of New York in the New York City Housing Projects. One piece of advice that one of my mentors told me, that has stuck with me and that I’m forever thankful for is “Don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something you dream of doing!”

This piece of advice has guided me through life and my career. Starting a family at a very young age left me needing a push and a mentor to guide me and to encourage me that I can still succeed in life.

I now with my own teenager and his friends try to instill this mentality in them. I try to be a mentor to all his friends as I’m always with a slew of teenagers in my home. Personally I would much rather they be in my home with my guidance than out on the streets getting into trouble. I try to be like the mentors I had growing up. I try to be that house where the kids feel comfortable to come and who helps the kids in need. I’ve had many kids come into my home and stay for weeks since their parents were essentially unfit to be parents. When children are dealing with a lot when they are kids and especially teenagers, I firmly believe it’s the most important time for them to have a good role model who encourages them that they can over come any obstacle and succeed in life. I try to pass on the advice I was given and I’m happy to know that it has worked as I’ve seen so many kids who have come into our home go from failing to the honor role with just some encouragement and mentoring.

This form of mentoring that I try to do has been done at the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for over 100 years! They have been dedicated to changing the lives of children all over the country. Check out the Video Below:

 

What Does Big Brothers Big Sisters Do exactly you ask?

Well, They change lives! Compared to children not in their program, their kids are LESS likely to:

  • Skip school.
  • Use drugs.
  • Begin drinking alcohol.
  • Get into fights.

Children matched in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs maintain or improve in the three outcome areas which we hold ourselves accountable to—educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency.  Progress in these areas is linked to longer-term outcomes, such as high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and job readiness.  Finally, 81% of adults who participated in our program as Littles say their Big Brother or Big Sister caused them to broaden their horizons – to change what they thought possible in life.1  Imagine the possibilities for our youth.

What is more alarming is about 20% of the children they serve are Hispanic – a number on the rise. Yet, only 9% of their Bigs Mentors are Latino.  Also, more than 70% of the children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor are boys, yet only 3 of 10 volunteer inquiries come from men. Latinos have a strong heritage of volunteering in their neighborhoods and places of worship.  Latinos can have a big impact now that will not only help one child but help an entire community – our community.

If not us, who?  If not now, when?

I’m sending out my encouragement of my Fellow Latinos and Latinas in particular to come out and mentor our youth. It’s sad to think that our numbers are growing in the program but there is no one of their heritage that they can identify with that can encourage them in the program. We need to change this pronto!

Please check out Latino Bigs today to see how you can easily become a mentor to our youth. A few hours of your day during the week is all it takes!

Your mentorship can make a huge difference in so many amazing children’s lives. For even more info you can also Like Latino Bigs on Facebook and follow along on Twitter.

Have you had the opportunity to mentor a young person or did you have any mentors growing up?

 

Disclosure: This is part of a supported campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers Big Sisters.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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