It is time to MAD. If you never thought you could make a difference, never thought you could change the world, never thought you could be a hero…you were not looking in the right place. It is right here and right now.
3 million vs. 15 million
The smaller number represents children with a mentor. The larger number represents the children without one. One child in six has someone to turn to when they are unsure which way to go. They have someone who can answer their questions, teach them skills not learned in school, help them cope with issues at home…someone to count on when it seems like there is no one else.
Five out of Six
…do not. These five children are at risk. How much risk? What kind of risk?
They are more than 73% more likely to use alcohol before age 18.
These children are 63% more likely to skip out on a class.
They are almost 55% more likely to use illegal drugs.
Nearly half of them of them will skip a full day of school before they graduate or drop out.
What to do…
Mentors help children successfully become adults by developing their self-confidence, teaching them relationship and communication skills, coaching teamwork skills and developing positive attitudes for school. Think that is a tall order? Look at it another way.
1 in 3
One-third of all public school students will not graduate high school. Most of the reasons preventing them from graduating could have been avoided with a positive adult influence in their lives to augment parental guidance.
Almost 70% of metropolitan fourth-graders are unable to read at the most basic level. This could be eradicated with one person reading with them as little as one hour per week.
Have to Make It
Getting out of high school is important. Getting to high school is even more important.
Tweens and early teens are at high risk for suicide. More than 35% of them will attempt it. Need some help with the math?
Today, tomorrow, next Wednesday, three weeks from yesterday and on November 4th,
of them will attempt to commit suicide. A large portion of them will be successful. Suicide kills more children under the age of 15 than homicide.
Who is at risk?
Girls attempt suicide four times more often than boys. Boys are more successful. Four boys will die by suicide to each girl.
Children attempt suicide because they feel like there is no one to turn to when things get too difficult for them to handle because they do not have the skills to navigate social situations and school.
Make a Difference
1. Find a local mentoring program.
Type your metropolitan area and “mentoring program” into your search engine. Visit their website. If there is an application online, fill it out. If not, email asking for an application and supply your name, address and telephone number.
2. Ask for an appointment.
Most mentoring programs pair children to adults based on the application. Set an appointment to come in and talk to someone about what programs are available. You can use these programs to join team activities with your mentee. See what resources are available to you at the center, including:
- Art supplies
- Musical instruments
- Academic books and tools
- Recreational books
- Sports equipment
3. Create your own.
Do you have children? Know a neighbor with a child? Have friends with children? Host a child exchange. Trade your children for someone else’s children. Borrow a neighbor’s child.
4. Once a week.
Every week, spend at least one to three hours with your mentee. Do everyday activities. Teach the child something. Try any of these activities:
- Play a sport.
- Grow something.
- Read a book aloud.
- Learn a computer program.
- Operate laundry machines.
- Help with homework.
- Write letters, thank you notes or stories.
- Teach table manners and etiquette.
- Play with animals.
- Do chores.
- Visit the elderly.
- Learn the history of your country or town.
- Eat healthy food.
Simple conversation is a rare commodity. Speak to a child as the person they are. Listen respectfully.
5. Set goals.
Make goals with your mentee. When you both reach them, celebrate the success and share the excitement by making the new goals! Teaching a child how to set and achieve goals plants the seeds of success.
Children are our future. They are the ones who will be caring for us in our sunset years. They will be the governments which oversee the world in just a few years. They are the next generation of stewards of the Earth. One day, they will raise children of their own.
Give a child a fighting chance. Children are capable of just as much as any other person. With the proper foundation and some encouragement, there is nothing beyond their grasp. With the basic building blocks of knowledge and the skills to make good decisions, children become responsible adults.
Take some time to make a friend. Listen. Answer questions. Be there. You can change the world by making a difference in one child’s life.
Everyone has something to offer a child. You do not need specialized training. The most important talent a mentor has is caring. Open your heart and mind to a child.
Have you ever been a mentor? Which person in your childhood made the difference? Will you take the challenge to Make A Difference in a child’s life by becoming a mentor? Name what one thing you could share with a child you think would MAD the most.