January is National Mentoring Month, but dedicating just one month each year to recognizing mentors and all they do for the lives of those they touch is not nearly enough. After just four months of my term as an AmeriCorps for the I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, I can see how impactful mentors are in our Dreamers' lives. Some may think that bowling, eating ice cream, or going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are normal activities that every child gets to experience, but this is not the case. Without our mentors, many of the children our organization works with wouldn't have many of these "normal" experiences.
These outings provide an opportunity for children to be inspired; to see what the world has to offer and fill their minds with dreams they need to fuel their dedication to school and education. Bowling and ice cream may not seem like life-changing activities, but the mentors take this time to meet with the Dreamers, connect with them, tell stories from their own lives, and show their mentees that they too can achieve big things and pass on their experience as a mentor themselves one day.
As the mentor coordinator, one of the first questions I ask people is what their motivation is to begin mentoring. The majority of the time motivation comes from others who have guided them in the past. So let's give thanks to our mentors and the time they give, and to those who did before them. It's individuals like these within our community that provide the spark needed to fuel positive change in our future through the lives of the young children they so graciously mentor.
For more information about the "I Have a Dream" Foundation and the work that we do please visit ihaveadreamboulder.org. We work with over 350 youth in Boulder County and are always looking for more mentors.