By Colin Bagwell, Probation Supervisor
“My mentor is cool and I know I can talk to him about anything. He plays piano and I do too, which is awesome.”- Male age 12
“My mentor is very nice and helpful. When we hang out, I can just be myself. Thank you!”- Female age 13
January 2015 is National Mentoring Month. The direction of our communities rest on the shoulders of its youth, and educated, confident, and nurtured children will give rise to a stronger municipality. Quality mentoring is a proven, effective strategy matching a caring, responsible adult with a student to provide guidance and build confidence, stability, and direction for children. Research has shown that well-organized mentoring has a definitive impact on young people by increasing attendance at school, improving rates of high-school graduation and college attendance, and decreasing involvement with drugs, alcohol, and violent behaviors.
The City of Falls Church has established the 1-2-1 Mentoring Program in partnership with Northern Virginia Family Service and the RISE Mentoring Program in order to offer its youth the benefits of a mentor. The establishment of a National Mentoring Month will emphasize the importance of mentoring and recognize, with praise and gratitude, the many individuals already involved in mentoring.
The 1-2-1 Program is currently seeking mentors. If you are over 21 and in search of an opportunity to help local children, we are looking for you! Mentors in our program are role models who provide City of Falls Church youth with support, encouragement, and friendship. They are matched with middle school students who need to improve academics, social skills, and self-esteem. Meet your mentee once a week and help a teen improve his or her life. Mentors meet with students on Thursdays from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at the Falls Church Community Center. To sign up, please contact Henry Amaya at 571-748-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The RISE Mentoring Program is a community program through the Falls Church Juvenile Court Services Unit that is aimed at providing high school aged youth with positive role models in their daily lives. Youth ages 14-17 are matched with an adult volunteer mentor, a caring adult who helps youth improve academic performance, self-esteem, and social skills. Mentors must make a minimum one year commitment to volunteering with the program, be at least 21 years old, and reside in the Northern Virginia area. For additional information or to be a mentor, contact Megan Graham at 703-248-5434 or email@example.com