Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month!
Every year at this time, the Walla Walla Mentoring Coalition comes together to raise awareness of mentoring in our Valley. You might not know that there are several organizations that are involved in youth mentoring, offering programs and services to help make the lives of our young people richer, warmer and more satisfying.
The following programs are members of the Coalition:
Children’s Home Society — academic mentoring.
Trilogy Recovery Community — alcohol- and drug-recovery coaching.
Friends of Children of Walla Walla — one-on-one relationship building between a child in need and an adult “friend.”
Young Lives — mentoring and support for teen moms and their babies.
START Mentoring — mentoring for residents of the Juvenile Justice Center.
Whitman Mentors — elementary-school-based mentoring.
National, regional and local research all point to one clear fact — mentoring works! One-on-one mentoring relationships help with better self-esteem, reduced drug and alcohol use, better academic performance, reduced criminal behavior and enhanced hope for the future.
The programs listed above never run out of kids who need their programs, but they do run out of volunteers — regularly. Coalition member organizations routinely carry waitlists of children. In fact, there are never enough volunteers to serve the number of kids who desperately need a caring, consistent, safe adult who cares enough to spend time every week making a difference to a child in our Valley.
There is no special expertise needed, no advance degree required. If you have an hour or two a week that you could devote to a child, you can change a life — literally for the better. What’s more, most volunteers say that they get as much or more from their mentoring experience than the child does!
Won’t you join the hundreds of adults who are already involved with the local programs mentioned above? There is a child waiting for you — for the special brand of caring that only you can give.
Reach out during National Mentoring Month and talk to any of the fine organizations listed above — a child is waiting!
The Mentoring Coalition is offering a free presentation to the public tonight. Pamila Gant from Washington State Mentors will talk on “The Pluralist Generation — what we need to understand in order to prepare for the unique challenges posed by the next generation” at 7 p.m. in Kimball Auditorium on the Whitman College.