Just One Hour a Week Can Change a Life: Give by Mentoring a Child This Holiday Season
CLEARWATER - This holiday season consider giving the gift of time. Just one hour a week can make a tremendous difference and change the life of a child in your community. The Eckerd Mentoring Program in Pinellas County is seeking adult mentors to be matched with boys and girls who have a parent incarcerated in prison, and the need has never been greater.
"We currently have a dire need for adults to mentor children ages 5 through 17 in Pinellas County. These are good kids who, through no fault of their own, are living without one or both parent and truly need a positive role model. When you mentor a child, the gifts you give are priceless; your time, one-on-one attention and unconditional regard are invaluable to our children," said Karen Bonsignori, Associate Vice President/External Relations for Eckerd Youth Alternatives.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than two million children in the United States that have at least one parent in federal or state prison. Already traumatized by losing their mom or dad, these vulnerable children are often stigmatized, shuffled from place to place, and uncertain about their futures. All too often, they fall behind in school and are at risk for unhealthy behaviors and activities. Research shows, however, that caring adult mentors have a dramatic effect on these children's lives. Young people with mentors are:
What makes a good mentor? The main requirements for becoming a mentor are being at least 18 years of age, being a good listener and being committed. Since consistency is important with youth, especially those exposed to trauma. Eckerd asks all mentors to commit to the relationship for a minimum of one year. An extensive matching process is utilized to ensure a good match is made, and training/support for the mentor is provided by the program.
Mentoring is also a gift that gives back. "Many of our mentors tell us they got involved to help others - and found their own lives enriched through the experience," Bonsignori added. "If you have ever thought about doing more with your life and really making a difference, now is the time to mentor a child".
If you would like to mentor a child, or know someone who may be interested, please contact Pinellas Mentoring Coordinator Jim Oliver at 727-348-7402 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
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