There are more than 440,000 people living in Adams County, according to the 2010 Census. So finding 100 adults willing to be a mentor should be a cinch.
This is the mindset Adams County Youth Initiative Director Becky Hoffman has as the organization prepares for the first ever Friend-Raiser from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, June 27, at Baker St. Pub, 2831 W. 120th Ave. in Westminster.
“We hope this event will broaden community support for the positive, life-changing effect mentoring could have for kids here in Adams County,” Hoffman said. “Kids need a voice of reason, someone who will listen to them, someone who will ultimately cheer them on. Mentors can fill that role.”
Hoffman said there are mentoring organizations that would love to reach out to the youth in Adams County, but that there aren’t enough volunteers here to do that.
ACYI’s goal is to get 100 people to volunteer as mentors to work with Metro Denver Partners, Save Our Youth, Senior Hub and Young Life.
Trudy Swain with Save Our Youth said some people may be hesitant to volunteer because of misconceptions about the time needed to be a mentor and concerns over finances.
“Setting aside 1-2 hours a week is doable and will actually impact the life of the mentor as well as the life of the child,” she said. “Mentoring is all about building a healthy relationship with a young person. Most mentoring organizations have free tickets they make available to mentors for special activities. Otherwise, mentoring is about finding ways to interact with a young person without making the focus on spending a lot of money.”
Every year ACYI surveys sixth through 12th graders throughout the county, and the results are concerning, Hoffman said.
“Kids that don’t have a caring adult outside their home or school are five times less likely to graduate from high school,” she
She pointed out that there are more than 100,000 children under 18 in Adams County.
“Almost half of those kids qualify for free and reduced lunch,” she said.
“We have a lot of kids in Adams County and a lot of kids that are at-risk.”
Swain added, “The bottom line is that our young people are in trouble. They are struggling to graduate from high school and have few role models to help them figure out how to live life successfully.”
For more information on mentoring opportunities, visit www.acyi.org or call 720-972-3876.