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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Importance 0f Mentoring Youth

U.S. Rep French Hill
by French Hill: Parents, community leaders, business professionals, and all of us need to play a key role in making sure the next generation of Arkansans can lead full and meaningful lives. While it is easy to find the enthusiasm to provide sound guidance, love, and support for our own children, there are too many others who are left without the kind of parental relationship that children require.

There are an estimated 46 million people in America who are between the ages of 8 and 18, one-third of whom lack a positive role model in their lives. The approximately 16 million American children who are missing the appropriate support network need our help. Arkansas is a diverse state with incredible natural resources, a growing economy, and an improving education system. We have the potential to be a leader in many key industries and issue areas, but to do so, we need the next generation of Arkansans to be equipped for success as they move toward adulthood.

That means providing all of our children with the encouragement to make the best decisions possible on their respective paths toward adulthood. The responsibility of leaving no child behind rests on all of us, and I would call on all of those who are able to participate in some of the important mentoring programs across our state. Whether it is through a mentoring organization, scouting, the Boys and Girls Club, a religious institution, or a local school, becoming a positive influence for an at-risk youth will go a long way in strengthening our communities.

I recently heard from a constituent, Karissa Stephens, who relayed to me her story as a mentor through the Boys & Girls Club. One of her mentees was a child who was struggling academically, socially, and emotionally. Karissa challenged her mentee to set goals so that she could improve in all three of those key areas. As the child began to progress in all three areas, Karissa realized that the reason her mentee had struggled so much before was because she didn't have someone in her life who could play the critical role of offering much-needed encouragement.

Through Karissa's guidance, the mentee is now a senior in high school, a successful student, and a member of the JROTC program with aspirations of joining the military. Karissa and her mentee's story demonstrates the subtle reality that many of our at-risk youth face - life is infinitely more challenging without the support of caring adults.

With a mentor, at-risk youth are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school, 55 percent more likely to enroll in college, 46 percent less likely to start using drugs, 81 percent more likely to play sports or engage in extracurricular activities, and 78 percent more likely to volunteer in their communities. Additionally, 90 percent of kids who had a mentor are likely to become mentors themselves.

One of my favorite aspects of being your congressman is having the opportunity to travel to all seven of the counties in the 2nd District and discuss with students and teachers about the importance of mapping out a life plan at a young age. Starting in middle school, I urge students to graduate from high school and develop plans for their futures when they reach the age of 18. Even if those plans change, learning how to develop strategies and organizational skills will benefit our students as they transition from pupils to active members of the workforce. These are the kinds of simple but positive bits of wisdom we can provide to those struggling find their way.

The Declaration of Independence grants us the right to "pursue happiness." Achieving that great American objective requires planning, perseverance, hard work, and proper guidance. Each of us has an obligation to our youngest citizens to always make sure that they are cared for. No one, regardless of the situation they were born into, should have to face the world without the help of a guiding light.

Being available and active with members of our communities in need will always go a long way in making our State a wonderful place to live for generations to come.
U.S. Representative French Hill represents Arkansas' 2nd District. His article was provided by his office and previously ran on Van Buren County Democrat

Tags: French Hill, U.S. Representative, Arkansas, 2nd District, Mentoring Youth To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 4:00 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Patrick L. Booth said...

Jan and I mentor locally every Thurs AM and more often as needed.


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