Here in Johnson City, Rise Up! For Kids offered the following statistics on the long-term difference adult mentors make.
With regular mentoring, kids at risk of falling off track are:
• 52 percent more likely than their peers to not skip school.
• 55 percent more likely to enroll in college.
• 130 percent more likely to hold a leadership position.
• 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
• 90 percent more interested in becoming a adult mentor.
Rise Up! also called on one its longest-serving mentors to share a little about what it’s like to be a mentor and what a difference it has made for her and the child who has been a part of her life for the past 13 years.
Robin DeMonaco was introduced to Katelyn when she was a first-grader and bubbles over with pride when she tells you her mentee is now in her second semester of college, working full-time and living on her own.
“She’s been on her own since she was 17, before she graduated high school. We were concerned about that, but it was what she needed to do and she did it. That girl works hard I tell you Katelyn does,” DeMonaco said.
As for her role in Katelyn’s successes, she said, “Exposure in the key. It’s taking them places and letting them see things they wouldn’t get to see in their environment. And it’s showing them how to have fun that costs nothing at all, lots of things. That’s an important part of it too.
“It’s letting them know someone cares for them and sees what they’re going through and is going to be there to go through it with them. It changes their life.
“The thing is mentoring breaks that cycle of kids who may not have the opportunities. … It lets them know they are not alone.
“It taught me a lot too,” DeMonaco said. “I would have never known some of the heartaches that these kids go through. You never know unless you get involved.”
According to Marion, Rise Up! has 80 volunteers mentors, including some who work with more than one child.
“Mentoring is the very core of the DNA of Rise Up! for Kids organization since its conception 26 years ago. Whether that is one-on-one mentoring, small-group mentoring or sports teams.
“Rise Up! mentoring is indeed the greatest show on earth because it involves children whose lives are being changed and impacted for eternity,” she said
For those who may be interested in mentoring a child, Marion said, intentional long-term relationships is what Rise Up! mentoring is all about.
Rise Up! recruits and oversees its mentor matches with children and provides ongoing support and their activities. The process includes a questionnaire, an interview, a background check and training.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor with Rise Up! is encouraged to learn more by calling 423-610-1242 for by visiting riseupforkids.com.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.