Few things are more impactful in a young person’s life than the care and attention of a concerned adult.
I often think about the role my high school English teacher played in my life. At a time when I found extra-curricular activities more enjoyable than academics, she saw my potential and challenged me to take advanced classes. It was her influence that propelled me, a one-time C-student toward a degree, with honors, from the University of Florida.
Even today, fewer things are more inspiring than the great sense of gratification I see from watching boys on my youth football team grow and mature into responsible young men.
In as little as one hour a week, caring mentors can make a positive difference by promoting and demonstrating healthy relationships, open communication, positive self-esteem and growth.
And it does make a difference. Research shows that students who meet regularly with a mentor are significantly less likely to skip school and more likely to pursue a higher education.
To recognize the positive impacts of mentoring for youth and our community, while encouraging citizens to volunteer their time, I proclaimed January 2019 as Mentoring Month in Jacksonville.
Every child in our city deserves access to the tools, guidance and opportunities to succeed. Mentoring is one way all of us can contribute to that goal. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the Kids Hope Alliance web page.