Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Big News About Youth Mentoring

We in Charlottesville like to brag that we have it all.

Until yesterday, there was one thing we couldn't brag about though. Until yesterday, Charlottesville was the largest municipality in Virginia without a chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America -- the nation's largest and most well-known youth mentoring initiative.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I had the enormous pleasure of participating in the kick-off event for the new Charlottesville chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Local resident Jeff Mitchell deserves a whole heap of praise for his role in getting this new chapter off the ground; many Charlottesville kids will benefit as a result of his vision and leadership. As I've said on many occasions, youth mentoring programs have demonstrated time and again their ability to change lives for the better. Statistics show that young people who are in long-term mentoring relationships with reliable, caring adults are more likely to make good life decisions.

Several years ago, I helped to create an on-line guide for Charlottesville-area residents who wanted to either become a mentor or find a mentor for a child. The site, called "Mentorville," has been dormant for some time now, but yesterday, in conjunction with the Big Brothers Big Sisters event, we re-launched it at Many thanks to Catherine Tobin, our wonderful UVa student intern, and to Joe Rice in the City Communications Department for their efforts to dust off the old site and bring it back to life. Once Big Brothers Big Sisters of Charlottesville is actually in operation (any week now), their info. will be added to the site as well. For now, interested residents can contact them here.

With yesterday's big announcement, there are now even more opportunities in Charlottesville for caring adults to get involved and make a real impact in the life of a child. Now that's something to brag about.

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