Mentoring Little Munchkins

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By Atchariya Thipthadawong

“She never liked going to school, she missed like forty-fifty days of school” said Brianna’s mother (Home). Bonnie was once struggling with how her daughter behaved. As she tried to find a solution to her family problem, she encountered many discouraging obstacles. She does not understand why her daughter did not want to go to school and in came to a conclusion of needing help. One day, Janet, a caring volunteer, showed up in Brianna’s life and taught her the purpose of school. She did so not by telling and yelling at her but rather by mentoring her and becoming a good role model. As a result, little Brianna became friends with Janet. Their relationship with each other started to develop into a strong bond. Brianna came to love school as a result of the unique and wonderful experience she underwent with her mentor.

For children, it is important to have an adult that can be a friend, role model, and teacher. RI Mentoring Partnership, a non-profit organization that offers kids positive interactions, is an agency that provides that service. Although parents can teach their kids many things, the role of other loved ones and people that the child respects are immensely important. The program works to support and encourage their personal growth at their own pace. Mentoring for them is to give young people the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed no matter where they are (Home).  Sometimes kids choose not to listen to their parents. Unlike adults, children cannot bear stress and pressure, both of which the average adult is accustomed to. Therefore, the way parents teach their kids might not be the most effective way. In fact, RI Mentoring offers wonderful people such as Janet who volunteers and genuinely give their time and do not make money of the kids. From interviewing with Cathy Collins, one of the mentors, she explained that depending on their availability, at least an hour per week, their team will work with each child individually. Overtime once their relationship grows, they will meet more often. For example, Janet sometimes just showed up at Briana school because she enjoys the process of being with Briana as a mentor.

Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership’s mission is “to ensure youth have access to the motivational and supportive relationships they need to grow into confident, successful adults” (Home). What is unique about RI mentoring partnership is that they are sincerely ready to help. Their program has helped more than five thousand kids to date. Although, they are more focused on helping children, anyone who willing to become a mentee is also allow to participate with Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership. The organization itself is still aware of the work that needs to be done and will continue to help other people in the community.

One program at Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership is called “Guiding Light Giving Partnership” Through this partnership, people donate to the organization. These donors will identify themselves as a partner who cares about youth and believes in the principles guiding them. As a result, from the support, the organization has been successful; 46% of children they work with are less likely to begin using drugs; 27% are less likely to begin using alcohol; 53% are less likely to skip school and 33%; are less likely to engage in violence. The critical point that often times determine whether a young adult will most likely become a good student are during middle school. For example, Ms. Collins was once a mentor for an anonymous child since his first grade until the child has graduate college. She feels that children will most likely fall off track, when their environment is starting to put a pressure on them. For example, the classmates who smoke would only hangout with friends who are smoking. When children feel excluded they are more likely to get involved with the wrong groups of people.

For society as a whole, children are like little munchkins that adults should sprinkle some sugars and toppings on. The mentoring program provides an opportunity for adults and teenagers who are willing to volunteer their time to become a mentor. After they go through the training process which they have to participate in a youth mentoring program and the required workshop, they will be allowed to teach and mentor kids individually. Allowing mentors to build relationships with mentees is a strong point of the Rhode Island Mentoring program. There’s also another option that allows people to participate in a program without being a mentor. Teenagers can help set up events, raise funds and also make donations. These actions would support the community and would help children be healthy and active in society forever.

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