"I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County is excited to celebrate National Mentor Month this January. Last year, our mentors donated 13,500 hours of support to 140 youth from low-income communities enrolled in "I Have a Dream's" long-term programming. We are grateful for their support!
The support our mentors provide these youth through the one-on-one relationship is invaluable. In the words of one of our youth: "Knowing that you have someone you can trust is the best part about having a mentor. Whenever you have a problem you don't want to tell your friends or your parents, your mentor will be there for you." Our mentors are, indeed, cheerleaders, advocates and confidantes of our youth who encourage and support the youths' social, emotional and academic development. And young people with a mentor are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college.
However, 350 youth are still waiting to be matched with a mentor. David, a sixth-grader, states, "I want a mentor because I get lonely at the house." He would rather have a role model to see a movie with, play at Jump City, or simply to visit the park and throw a Frisbee around. When asked about the type of mentor he would like, he explained excitedly, "I would like them to be cool and awesome — someone who is really smart so we can be nerds together."
One of our mentors, Libby Berry, noted, "Even if you're in your 70s, if you have some energy, you can make an impact. To make a difference in a child's life is so meaningful, and to be my mentees confidante is very special."
Mentors meet with their mentee twice each month for a year. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, apply online at ihaveadreamboulder.org or call 303-444-3636, ext. 19.
Ashley Keltner is director of volunteers at "I Have a Dream" Foundation of Boulder County.