Texas Living

Meaningful Mentors

By Brian Kendall 1.30.17

Being a hero means more than rescuing someone from a burning building or outsmarting costumed villains to save the day. While the Spider-Mans and Wonder Womans of the world are great for comic books, real, everyday heroes affect lives by inspiring others to walk in their footsteps.

Whether it be parents, teachers, or coaches to look up to, every young mind needs a role model. Unfortunately, some youngsters, when searching for someone’s tracks to follow, can end up going down the wrong path. Mentorship programs are your chance to change a young Texan’s life for the better. Get involved today with one of these three mentorship programs across the Lone Star State, where you can help shape the future of children, at-risk youth, teens, and more.

Youth Empowerment and Success (YES) Mentoring

YES is designed specifically for youth who are aging out of foster care. Once a teen turns 18, he or she is no longer in the custody of his or her foster parents and is now on their own. YES mentors lend a hand by preparing these teens with the “skills and resources they will need to be healthy, financially responsible, productive adults.” This includes meeting in small groups to teach goal-setting, banking, budgeting, and more. If you’re available Saturdays, this is a fantastic way to volunteer your time and make a difference. Visit the Partnerships for Children website today to learn more about becoming a mentor.

Girls Inc.

A nationwide program provides “more than 140,000 girls with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges girls face.” Girls Inc. gives women ages 18 years of age and older the opportunity to become a positive role model for young girls. By spending quality time, helping with homework, and providing ongoing encouragement and empowerment, you can help mentees grow into successful young women. Get the volunteer application here.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

The nation’s largest “donor and volunteer supported mentoring network,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of America “makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers and children, ages 6 through 18.” A mentor’s job is to spend quality one-on-one time with their appointed brother or sister to develop a lasting, supportive relationship. According to national research published on bigmentor.org, children who participate in the program are 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs and 52 percent less likely to skip school. Visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America website to learn more about volunteering opportunities.

Want to volunteer your time but not sure which organization to choose or how to use your skills? Read these tips for choosing the right cause for you.