Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Yes, I'll share more about Denver some day. I truly will. I'll also tell the stories alluded to in one of the earlier posts (about my last day at PJs, and so on).

But, as you may or may not be aware, there was another school shooting today.

Statistically speaking, we're doing okay here. Again, that's strictly statistically speaking. And by "we", I mean public schools in America. The friends and family members of those shot, and the friends and family members of the kid who did the shooting probably aren't doing so okay, non-statistically speaking.

I mean to say this doesn't mean the school near your home isn't the safest place for a kid to be. Schools are safe, trust me. It's just a school being safe doesn't make the news.

But, back to the horror that is any school shooting...

I have a suggestion for you if you hear about these things (or see them on the news) and wonder what's wrong with the world--or, more importanly, if you feel like you should do something.

Ready? Here it comes: volunteer to be a mentor.

There are so many programs out there to give adults the opportunity to mentor a kid, I'm not sure where to begin. In the Kansas City area, we have Youth Friends. There are Big Brother/Big Sister programs just about everywhere. You can do a search for "volunteer, mentor, youth" and the name of the city or state where you live to find programs in your area.

I don't have any solid numbers handy at the moment, but trust me when I say there are a lot of kids out there who need another adult in their lives. At our school alone, we're needing mentors for another fifteen kids or so. There are ridiculously huge numbers of children and young adults who could benefit greatly from just a little attention.

There are kids out there (and not just a few) who have parents they seldom see. (That's not to judge the parents who are working two jobs or a night job to provide for their family, mind you.) Many kids today don't have that sense of community, or a sense of belonging. They don't have a decent number of trustworthy adults in their lives. And it's not like you have to be all that great of a human being to do a great job at being a mentor. You just have to be A human being... someone with a heart that can listen and make conversation over lunch. Nothing fancy required, honest.

If you could dedicate an hour a week to hanging out with a kid, you wouldn't believe the difference it could make.

So go volunteer. The down side to volunteering to be a mentor is also the up side: you may never know what horrible future you may have helped a young person avoid.


Andy B. said...

Where you say "you may never know what horrible future you may have helped a young person avoid," I say "you may never know what wonderful future you may have helped a young person acheive."

Anonymous said...

The phone number to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City is 816.561.5269, you mus be 21 years of age, have reliable transportation and agree to go through and Volunteer screening process complete with questionaire (sp) and a home visit. Last I checked, over 300 kids were on the waiting list, mostly boys, so MEN volunteers needed badly!!! I use to work there, so I know first hand just how important this is to everyone!!!!Tricia