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Becoming a Mentor - Big Brothers

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Becoming a mentor can have a tremendous impact on the life of a youngster. Children need someone to look up to that doesn't necessarily need be a part of their immediate family. Sometimes they have no siblings, or maybe their siblings or parents are busy. Perhaps they have no grandparents to do things with. These children are the ones that spend their afternoons in crowded after school programs where they may not get the attention the crave. This may lead to isolation and oppositely over hyperactive children starved for attention. In other cases, some children who are not so fortunate as to be offered after-school programs are subject to the world outside all on their own. In too many cases, these are the children that become statistics. These are the children who turn to drugs or crime, be it out of fear, or simply to feel accepted. Accepted in the wrong crowds still may comfort a lonely child.

One of the most renowned mentoring agencies is a non-profit organization called big brothers/ big sisters of America. A man who saw a young boy sifting through the trash for food created this establishment over 90 years ago. He took the boy home, fed him, and then met his poverty-stricken family. From that point on, he became a mentor to the little boy, and this inspired him to form the organization for other boys, and in following years, a group of Christian women created a program for little girls. The soon joined forces and became the big brothers and big sisters of America. In today's society, there are a lot of things for a child to face each day. These things can include anything from illegal drugs to simply being harassed by the school bully. No matter how trivial the obstacle, children should not have to live in fear or feel as if they are alone and have no one to talk to. This happens in too many instances, and just a simple friend could have made all the difference. Though juvenile crimes are not on the rise, according to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, 18% of all arrests in the US are youths under the age of 18. Most of these crimes include rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Students ages 12-18 were victims of an estimated 2.1 million in-school thefts in 1996--62% of all crimes in school. Students ages 12-18 were victims of an estimated 1.6 million thefts away from school in 1996--53% of all crimes against students away from school.

Even if crime isn't on the rise with school-aged children, problems do exist. These are problems that will not go away by themselves and all the metal detectors and safety measures will not keep kids safe outside of school. It is easy to say that the kids are misunderstood. Just a satisfying excuse to the behaviors of troubled kids. It doesn't have to be that way. Directly quoted from the big brother/big sister web site is the following mission statement:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America have matched millions of children in need with caring adult mentors since 1904. Research shows that children with Big Brothers and Big Sisters are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, skip school, and exhibit violent behavior. Our program provides positive mentoring relationships for young people in hundreds of communities in all 50 states

When a child spends time with his or her mentor,



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