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Mentoring: Giving the gift of guidance

An interesting statistic on mentoring came out of Saturday’s Big Brothers/Big Sisters awards event (see article on page A1.)

In Oregon, there are 22,000 mentors helping 59,000 young people.

That is a nearly three-to-one ratio.

As February is National Mentor Month, it’s a good time to consider ways to bring down that ratio to something more like one-on-one.

Granted, the above numbers are skewed by the fact that one adult can mentor more than one child at a time.

And it is encouraging, on its own, that there are in Oregon 22,000 people who serve as mentors — that’s about the population of Hood River County.

Hood River News will take a closer look at mentoring in our community with next week’s Kaleidoscope.

Mentors come in many forms: math and reading tutors, the volunteers who guide the growing robotics programs, the parents and other adults who spend time in schools serving kids. Then there are formal programs such Big Brothers/Big Sisters and others at Next Door Inc., Hood River Valley’s ASPIRE program, Start Making A Reader Today, foster programs and others.

This edition of the paper features a variety of examples of mentoring relationships: Indian Creek Stewards, Young Life, and New Leaf Gallery, to name a few. In addition, look at the sports page for wrestling, Little League and other sports that depend on paid and volunteer coaches — all mentors.

And who mentored young Jaydon Gabriel, who on his own created a fundraising effort (story, page A1) for a young man with cancer? His educators, his parents, — the beneficiary himself — and others provided him life examples of how to serve others.

The point is that numerous programs exist that anyone can connect themselves with, and help by mentoring children and youth. Or, with the kind of imagination even a 12-year-old can muster, anyone can come up with their own way to give positive guidance to others.

This community is full of mentors, and there is always room for more.

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If you know of examples of mentoring that we can mention in the Hood River News, in next week’s Kaleidoscope or farther into the future, contact reporter Esther K. Smith at hrnews@hoodrivernews.com.

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