Our View: Mentoring works all year long

January 29, 2017

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

By: Santa Fe New Mexican staff

January 29, 2017

January is almost over, but there’s still time to celebrate the importance of mentoring in a child’s life as National Mentoring Month comes to a close.

Across the country, children are able to do better in school, have wider experiences and enjoy more possibilities because a caring adult spends time with them. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to keep the programs straight.

Adults can mentor by becoming a tutor through a school program. There are successful matches in programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region. Other mentoring relationships take place informally — perhaps a neighbor or a cousin spending time with a young boy or girl while Mom or Dad is at work. What is at the heart of these relationships is an adult who takes time to care for a child and help him or her succeed.

For people in Santa Fe who are interested, the website gathers information on mentoring programs in one easy-to-access place. There’s a spot to find a mentoring program in Santa Fe, as well as links with resources for families, mentors and tutors. Especially for families worried about preparing children for college, the resources detailing the Common Core curriculum, standardized test preparation and financial aid information are outstanding.

At-risk children with mentors have a better shot at reaching their potential. They are 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college and 78 percent more likely to become volunteers themselves. Some 81 percent of them report participating in sports or extracurricular activities.

Even the most eager volunteer, however, can be overwhelmed. Where to start? Which program is a fit for them? How to get involved? The website lists the various programs, complete with contact numbers, so that people can learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Families who want help for their children can use the website to find a program that will help their kids shine. There are opportunities for kids who like tennis (First Serve-New Mexico) or who love science (Santa Fe Alliance for Science)…

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