Thursday, December 29, 2011

A call for mentoring on the Northside

The tragic death of 3-year-old Terrell on the Minneapolis’ Northside during this holiday season has me thinking.  Every Christmas it is amazing to witness the outpouring of gifts given to children and families in need.  While these gifts are wonderful, and help to make the holiday season bright, far more is needed to assist these children and families in order that they might realize their God given potential.

For both the shooter and the victim’s family the gift of our presence would be a much more valuable gift than any present we might give. Terrell had a dad in prison, so without intervention he would have been six times more likely than his peers to enter the correctional system.  I think it a pretty safe bet that the shooter, yet to be identified, was lacking in supportive adult role models. 

During the New Year if you are interested in making a lasting difference in the life of a child, consider giving them something much more valuable than a shinny new toy or gadget, how about giving them the gift of your time?   Kinship, Bolder Options, and Big Brothers and Sisters all have waiting lists of kids who are eager to have mentors/friends, be they individuals, couples or families.  They are working with the Northside Achievement Zone to carefully screen, match and support Northside children and youth with mentors. Becoming a mentor has the power to dramatically change at least two lives for the better; a child’s and your own. 

One additional update.  I attended a gathering last night in north Minneapolis at the Urban League to discuss ways people could become involved in the development of 20 garden plots on the Northside through Project Sweetie Pie.  Plans are to include mentoring as a vital component of this effort.  

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