They say everybody needs a friend, and that is exactly what the Youth Mentoring Network is hoping to provide to Ohio Valley kids: a friend and a role model.
“When I sit in my room and I don’t have much to do, then I can call her, and she’s always willing to come do something with me. She always puts a smile on my face. She gives me advice and helps me through things that I wouldn’t be able to do without her,” said Tilly, a mentee.
Tilly was matched with her mentor Cathy a few years ago. She says Cathy has made an indescribable, positive impression on her life.
Cathy says Tilly has changed her life, too.
“She spends time with my family, too, and with my daughter. It’s kind of like she’s part of our family. We kind of adopted her, sort of,” said Cathy.
The Youth Mentoring Network was formerly known as Big Brothers, Big Sisters and is operated through Youth Services System.
Kids matched with a mentor are more confident, are more successful in school, are better equipped for social relationships, and are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.
Kids age five through 14 can sign up for the program, but right now, there are more kids than available mentors.
One of those kids is Justin. Justin is a seven year old boy from Wheeling, and he is looking for a mentor.
“He’s funny. He’s outgoing. He likes going swimming. He likes playing ball,” said his grandmother.
Justin’s grandmother says he wanted a mentor after he saw how his older sister benefited from the program.
She says he needs someone with patience and energy, and someone who likes to be active.
“He wanted to take up football, and he likes to wrestle. He wants to learn to fish the right way.”
If you think you would like to be Justin or another child’s mentor, you can contact the Youth Mentoring Coordinator Connie Ball at 304-218-2857 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.