While you are a child, you need someone to look up to. You need someone that is doing well and you can aspire to be like when you are grown. Watching how that person handles themselves can help to mold the type of person you grow up to be. These mentors may not realize what they are doing or the impact that they have on a child’s life, but a mentor can change the entire way you handle yourself throughout life. A mentor could be a teacher, a friend of the family or even an older brother or sister. Some children don’t have anyone in their lives that have been able to connect to them and that can make an impact. This is where the Big Brothers Big Sisters program comes into play.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches youth (referred to as a Little) with an older volunteer mentor (referred to as a Big) to help provide a positive influence in their lives. Children that have a Big Brother or Big Sister are less likely to skip school, do drugs, drink alcohol or be involved in fights. Children realize there is someone that cares about them and expects them to do well. They want to do the right thing and having someone to help walk them through those hard decisions can make all the difference.
While I was growing up, teachers were always had a huge impact on my life. While I was in high school, I took a typing class and met Mrs. Gomez. She convinced me to join the Business Professionals of America. I joined because she asked me to, not quite knowing what I was getting myself in to. I stayed in the group and in her businesses classes throughout high school. While I was still in high school I was working in a high office job and knew how to handle myself in a professional way. To this day I can hear Mrs. Gomez in my head when I am working on my resume or trying to decide what to wear to a job interview. Her guidance shaped me into the business woman I am today. I don’t know that Mrs. Gomez realizes the impact that she had on me, but it did help me through school. I stayed in business classes and learned how to handle myself. While the other kids were high school seniors and flipping burgers, I was working in an office. I won’t say I didn’t flip burgers, okay actually I didn’t, I made ice cream cones and banana splits, but I did work fast food. Even when I went to that interview, Mrs. Gomez was in my head. I dressed nice and handled myself with professionalism. She molded me into a business woman.
I recently saw Mrs. Gomez and she was so happy to hear how well I’ve done for myself. It still made me feel great to hear that she was proud of what I had accomplished and the things I was doing in life. When big things happen, I like to let her know because I don’t know that I would be in this position if it hadn’t been for her pushing me to do it through school.
More children need a mentor in their lives. More Latino children need Latino mentors in their lives. 20% of the Littles that Big Brothers Big Sisters helps are Latino, but only 9% of the Bigs are Latino! Of the volunteers, only 3 of 10 applications are from men. Latinos we need to step it up and help our children!
What does it take to be a mentor?
Big Brothers Big Sisters has mentors of all types. You could be a business man, a stay-at-home mom, college student or anyone! If are you willing to be a positive role model in a child’s life, you are a great candidate. You don’t need a fancy degree or training. Anyone can be a positive influence, you just have to have the passion and dedication.
Latinos, we need to step it up. We need to give our children mentors they can relate to. It only takes a few hours a month to spend some quality time and provide guidance in a child’s life.
Join in the chat!
Make sure to join Latina Mom Bloggers and Big Brothers and Big Sisters on Wednesday, OCT 10 from 7- 8:00 pm ET for a Twitter CHAT! There will be lots of information regarding our Latino ‘littles’ and their need for ‘Big’ volunteers! Lets work together to support our youth, our future. Follow the hashtag #LatinoBigs