Each and every child deserves to succeed in life. Unfortunately, many children in the United States do not have a person in their life that is willing to put in the time and effort that’s needed to mentor them and point them toward a life of fulfillment.
Over a hundred years ago, Ernest Coulter, a county clerk working in New York City, noticed that he was seeing more children coming through the court system, making it harder for them to have a bright future. It was Ernest’s belief that these children would benefit greatly from adult role models who could help guide their lives in a more positive direction, and he created the Big Brothers program.
Also during this time, the Ladies of Charity, a Catholic group based in New York City, was helping girls that were also getting in trouble with the court system. In 1977, these two groups came together with their similar missions and became Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been working toward helping children at a personal level since its inception in 1904. This organization and those involved with it believe wholeheartedly that every child has the potential to have a bright future, even if they have obstacles and situations beyond their control.
Children that come to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are individually paired with an adult volunteer who signs on as a mentor to that child. In this one on one relationship, the mentor can help the child develop skills they will need in the future to live a successful life. Children are often susceptible to risky behavior that would ultimately hinder their future success, and it’s important to have an adult they trust that will point them away from these activities and influence them to pursue more positive outlets.
Every mentor knows the power education can have on anyone’s life. Every child should be able to not only reach their educational goals, but also be able to see the value in it. When their child is struggling in school, mentors can help them figure out strategies to do better, whether it’s a time management issue or something else they’re focused on in their home life.
For some children, the relationship they have with their mentor is one of the few positive relationships they have in their life. Showing the child that they can have these kind of great relationships will help them foster other positive connections down the line.
Ultimately, a mentor should be a positive force in the child’s life and in the community as a whole. Becoming a mentor is an incredible responsibility, but it can also be one of the most fulfilling parts of their lives.