Mentors Help Create Lasting Memories
Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield’s (BGCS) volunteer mentor Quinn describes their weekly visits with Club member Kalia as the highlight of their week.
Even though Kalia and Quinn met just a few months ago, they have connected in meaningful ways. One of the things Quinn loves most about Kalia is her spunky attitude.
“She just knows how to bring a smile to someone’s face,” they said.
BGCS supports one-on-one and small-group mentoring relationships for several youth in the Springfield area. Matches meet for one hour weekly, encouraging kids and teens to explore their full potential.
Every Day, Mentors Make a Difference
According to Springfield’s most recent community focus report, children in Greene County face widening economic disparities, and child abuse and neglect continue to be red flag issues. Unfortunately, there is a lack of community support for mitigating the resulting mental health effects.
Protective factors are key to helping youth build resiliency. Research suggests that the most common factor in how children overcome adversity is the presence of at least one loving, consistent, and supportive adult. From heart-to-hearts over ping-pong to preparing teens for that first job interview, mentors are there through good days and bad and all the decisions in between.
Quinn finds joy in helping Kalia meet her goals to become a better artist.
“We get to do fun stuff together,” Kalia said. “We get to do art, we get to do smelly markers, and we get to draw.”
Mentoring Helps Youth Build Important Skills
Mentoring relationships at BGCS are focused on building social-emotional skills. Quinn and Kalia often reflect on their experiences by playing “In our Day…” BINGO or using their jar of feelings, a visual sensory activity to help Kalia recognize and respond positively to her feelings.
According to an article by National University, social emotional learning benefits children and adults, increasing self-awareness, academic achievement, and positive behaviors in and out of the classroom.
“We’re really just learning how to interact with the world around us, and it’s really fun,” Quinn says.
We Need Your Help
At seven BGCS locations across Springfield, kids and teens like Kalia find a mentor. But we need your help expanding this reach.
Currently, one in three young people are growing up without a mentor.
This National Mentoring Month, we ask for your support in connecting more youth with caring mentors.
We are thankful for our sponsors!