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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) – A free program that impacts the youth in the community, is in great need of volunteers who can mentor and guide.
“Since COVID mental health has been a real big issue and I think you know, this is one way where you can make a serious change in a real positive influence in a child’s life who may not have that support system or not enough of a support system,” explained Allison Braswell, Recruitment Coordinator and Big Brother/Big Sister advocate.
The brother/ sister program connects adult volunteer mentors with kids in our community.
“This is a chance to really invest in someone else especially a child,” expressed Braswell.
After COVID, the YMCA said the need has increased, yet the amount of volunteers isn’t keeping up. The program is currently serving 175 kids, yet there are 44 who are still waiting for mentors. Especially male figures.
“That’s one part of the program where we have a significant waiting list. For boys, they wait typically three years and a lot of boys will age out of the program before they’re even matched,” said Braswell.
Current mentors say building those relationships have helped them and the kids gain crucial skills.
“You can make someone’s day by being yourself, you know, I mean just being you is enough in this world and you can change someone’s life by just being you so just take the chance,” said Kenry Atubel, YMCA mentor/Big Brother.
“We like to go to the Y or play basketball. That’s kind of the mentoring activities. With Max It’s usually just pulling him out of class and being able to chat with him and just kind of be put in the role of being a big brother,” said Cordarius Boyd, YMCA mentor/Big Brother.
The YMCA mentoring program is free for families interested, Yet the need is still great for those adults who can guide and be positive role models for the youth.
“I had asked them if you had one wish or if you won the lottery, what would you ask for and he told me now that I have a mentor of everything that I’ve ever wanted and that made my day and it just yeah, It made me emotional,” said Atubel.
According to the US government website, YOUTH, mentoring can increase high school graduation rates, improve relationships, and make good lifestyle choices.
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