Resolve to mentor a child this new year

NASHUA – Each one of us remembers someone special – a neighbor, teacher, relative or friend – who broadened our horizons and had a positive impact on our lives. Maybe it was the person who taught you to ride a bicycle, gave you encouragement or just listened. It may have been someone who helped you make a good decision, instead of a bad one.

So what better way to start 2009 than to return the favor by mentoring a young person? January is National Mentoring Month, as well as the month to make New Year’s resolutions. This year, if you become a mentor, it may be the one resolution you will want to keep. Just a few hours a couple of times a month can make a big difference in a child’s life and be a rewarding experience.

Not sure you’re mentor material? According to research conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters and to men and women who inquire about mentoring opportunities, there are some commonly held misperceptions.

One misperception is that a mentor has to have a big job or standing in the community. The fact is, kids don’t care about titles, only the caring and commitment. There is also the misperception that it takes too much time to be a mentor. Our volunteers spend a few hours a couple of times a month with their Littles. It’s the quality of the time spent, not the quantity.

Some folks say they worry that they will run out of ideas for things to do with a Little Brother or Little Sister. The fact is, Big Brothers Big Sisters organize all kinds of group events for Bigs and Littles. It also provides ideas on low-cost or free activities.

Mentoring makes a big difference. Research shows that one-to-one, professionally supported mentoring has a direct, measurable and lasting impact. Children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to be involved in violence.

Big Brothers Big Sister of Greater Nashua is actively recruiting mentors, and the need for male mentors is urgent. Too few young people have a caring adult mentor to provide encouragement and support. Mentoring programs can provide the link to this support, but these programs need volunteers to close the gap. Resolve to mentor a child, and have a great and rewarding new year.

For more information about mentoring a child in the Nashua region, visit or call 883-4851.