When you were a child or young adult, was there someone in your life — a teacher, neighbor, relative, coach, friend or boss — who encouraged you, showed you the ropes and helped you become who you are today? Maybe that someone helped you through a tough time and motivated you to try harder? That person was a mentor to you.
Laura is a mentor to 14-year-old Curisa. They have been matched through the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC) for three years. "It’s fun to be with my mentor," Curisa says. "She is like a best friend to me. She is the only person that would sit down and talk to me about life. She understands me a lot, and I tell her everything. She tries her best to help me if I have a problem, and I respect her for being there for me. If I didn’t have a mentor my life would not be so fun."
CYC places another caring adult in young people’s lives to mentor, provide guidance, and encourage them to succeed. Mentors can be one-on-one like Laura and Curisa or even in group settings such as the CYC’s After School Girls Clubs. Teams of eight to10 women meet weekly with 15 to 20 young girls. Through various activities and field trips, the mentors encourage strong academics while promoting self esteem.
Mentoring works. Research has shown that mentored youth are less likely to miss school, have lower behavior incidents, and have increased self-esteem. Furthermore, mentored youth graduate from high school at higher rates than their peers.
And while many students have been placed in mentoring relationships, the need is still great. Hundreds of young girls and boys are waiting to be matched with a caring adult.
January is National Mentoring Month, and CYC has joined together with The White House, the United States Congress, leading media companies and other local nonprofit groups to help recruit mentors for young people. The theme, "Expand Your Universe: Mentor a Child," speaks to the mutual benefit of a mentoring relationship and how sharing your life experiences creates an experience of a lifetime for a young person. Become a mentor. Visit CYCYouth.org to complete an application or call (513) 475-4148.
Editor’s Note: This is a special advertising section paid for by the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative