by Donney Rose
January 23, 2019
January is National Mentoring Month and a network of some of Baton Rouge’s most impact driven agencies are committed to ensuring that the youth of Baton Rouge see a drastic increase in the amount of mentors serving them. The network, Mentoring BR, has a mission to provide mentoring services to the Baton Rouge Community. Their goal: to increase the number of active mentors and the effectiveness of mentoring services in our community. Aside from the glaring benefits of mentorship in the development of young people, children of Louisiana specifically have a dire need of assistance from a larger community of caring adults according to research done on the welfare of children in the state.
A Few Critical Stats on Louisiana Children (via nola.com July 2018)
Approximately 393,000, or 35 percent, of Louisiana’s children have parents who lack secure employment. Like the rest of the nation, Louisiana has seen some positive growth since 2010, when the number of Louisiana children with parents in this situation was 36 percent.
In Louisiana, 60,000, or 49 percent, of children ages three and four were not enrolled in school from 2014 to 2016. By comparison, 47 percent of young children statewide were not in school from 2009 to 2011
Twenty-one percent of Louisiana high schoolers did not graduate on time in the 2015-16 school year, but that is an improvement from 29 percent in the 2010-11 school year. In comparison, the national average of high schoolers not graduating on time was 16 percent from 2015-2016.
Only 3 percent of Louisiana’s children lack health insurance, compared with 4 percent nationwide and 6 percent in Louisiana in 2010. That means 34,000 children statewide live without health insurance.
From 2012 to 2016, there were 231,000 children living in high-poverty areas across Louisiana. That’s a total of 21 percent, which is higher than the state average of 18 percent from 2008 to 2012. The national average is 13 percent.
Value of Mentorship
Across multiple categorical fronts children of Louisiana are in need of additional helping hands. Though it is not typically the job of a mentor to assist directly in financial needs, mentorship that provides children access to better educational opportunities, health/nutritional support and information around employment/job readiness can help reverse trends of generational poverty. Most importantly, solid mentorship provides young people with a direct example of what productive and healthy adulthood should look like. At its best, great mentorship serves as a catalyst that decreases the likelihood of young people falling into the trappings of hazardous behavior, and increasing a community’s output of well-rounded, socially accountable citizens.
Mentoring BR consists of eleven partner organizations which include MetroMorphosis, Big Buddy Program, 29:11 Mentorship, 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge, Boys & Girls Club, Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC), Destiny: The Rock of Escape, Front Yard Bike Shop, Gardere Initiative, Youth Oasis, Imagination Leads and Youth Empowerment Zone. These organizations are committed to building capacity and quality and has adopted standards around recruitment, training, screening, matching, and initiation, monitoring and support and closure for its members. But they need the help of the community to accomplish their goal in equipping young people in Baton Rouge with quality mentors. According to research, 1 in 3 young people will grow up without a mentor, but that gap can be narrowed in Baton Rouge. For information on how to become a mentor, visit mentoringbr.org
Mentoring In Real Life Awards
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Oak Lodge at Brickstone, 2834 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd.
Tickets available at bigbuddyprogram.org
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