Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mentors DO. Tutors DO.

Cross-posted from Living United, the blog of the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area. Living United is running a monthlong blog marathon to encourage people to get involved as mentors or tutors for area kids, leading up to very special Mentoring and Tutoring Information Fair next Monday, March 30, from 3-6pm at the Omni Hotel.

Looking back at all the wonderful mentoring- and tutoring-related posts on Living United from the past few weeks, it’s hard to know what more can be said!

We’ve heard from adults who mentor or tutor about the positive experiences they’ve had with their “mentees” and “tutees.” We’ve heard from children who have mentors or tutors on the many ways they’ve benefited from the time and attention of dedicated adult role models. We’ve heard from mentoring and tutoring program coordinators about the invaluable work that they do in connecting caring adults with kids who need one-on-one help.

I commend them all. And I commend the United Way and the good folks behind the “Mentor. Tutor. Pass it on.” campaign for highlighting the many opportunities available to local residents who want to make a positive & direct impact on the lives of our youth.

One thing I might add to what’s already been said is that mentoring or tutoring does not just make a difference in the life of an individual child, it also makes a difference in the life of our City. We talk a lot in this community about the need to reduce the achievement gap in our schools. We talk a lot about the need to reduce youth violence in our neighborhoods. We talk a lot about steering our kids away from drugs, or gangs, or teen pregnancy, or dropping out of school. We talk a lot.

We talk, but mentors DO. Tutors DO.

Talking about ways to improve the lives of disadvantaged children is helpful; establishing an ongoing, personal relationship of trust and support with a child is actually giving them the tools they need to build a brighter future. They, and our whole City, are the better for it.

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