With over 20 school-aged children currently taking advantage of mentoring programs at Sierra Vista Child & Family Services, the organization is hoping to increase that number following a summit on Friday that will raise awareness and advocate for the importance of mentoring throughout the region.
“We are always in need of mentors since there are always students needing a mentor relationship,” said Director of Mentoring and Community Support Craig Orona. “We are always trying to actively recruit people in the community and convince them to give back by mentoring.”
The body of research showing the positive effects of mentoring continues to grow as more and more communities and programs discover mentoring’s lasting positive effects. The societal costs of not having committed mentor support can be staggering. For example, California spends $234,000 per year for each youth in a juvenile justice facility. On the other hand, for each youth who avoids dropping out of school for a life of drugs and crime, the country saves between $2.6 and $5.3 million.
“Mentored youth show increased levels of self-esteem and self-worth, reduced absences from school, improvement academically and in school interaction, develop greater respect and interaction with peers and adults, learn about the opportunities available to them, discover that the choices they make have consequences that impact them through their lives, and show a greater understanding of the opportunities available to them and the positive impact they can have on their community,” said Orona.
Mentees are not the only ones who benefit from the mentoring relationship, according to Orona, who said that there are many advantages for mentors as well, including a sense of satisfaction with having helped a child who is in need of aid in a variety of different aspects.
“They will benefit by literally making a difference in a child’s life by helping them and guiding them through whatever their situation is to create a better student and better citizen when they grow up,” said Orona.
Those interested in becoming a mentor in the Central Valley can find out just what it takes during Sierra Vista Child & Family Services' Regional Mentoring Summit on Friday at Stanislaus State. The summit is designed to bring together mentors, mentees, educators, businesses, community leaders and community-based organizations that will empower all involved with the knowledge, skills and training necessary to create a culture of mentoring in the community through becoming mentors, advocates and supporters.
The summit will provide accessibility to workshops, including Mentoring & Monitoring Support; Helping Students Cope and Stay Grounded in Difficult Times; Introduction to SAFE: Screening Applicants for Effectiveness; My Lifeplan: A Journey of Choices, Decisions, and Consequences; Mentoring Boundaries for Mentors; All you Ever Wanted to Know About School-Based Mentoring; Mentors & Money – What Programs Need Most; Mentoring Matters, Even for Mentors; “You Matter” – Creating a New Normal Together and The Power of a Mentor Hour.
“We want this Summit to be a catalyst in linking individuals, organizations and communities to existing mentoring programs, and help to extend the reach of high quality mentoring programs and leverage additional services in local communities for sustainability and success,” said Sierra Vista Child & Family Services Executive Director Judy Kindle.“It will be an opportunity to learn about essential elements that are considered ‘best practices’ for mentoring programs, and why businesses and their employees should be involved in mentoring.”
Attendees will also get the opportunity to hear from distinguished keynote speakers Matt Emerzian from Every Monday Matters, a nonprofit committed to inspiring a new normal where individuals and organizations understand how much, and why they matter to themselves and their community, and legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, who is also the subject of the movie “When The Game Stands Tall.”
“We just want to build awareness and continue to advocate for the importance of mentoring and how it can benefit the communities in our county,” said Orona. “This summit creates a foundation for building that awareness and advocacy.”
The Regional Mentoring Summit will take place on Friday at Stanislaus State. For more information about the Summit, call 523-4573. To register, visit sierravistacares.org.