For those following the blog journey of our youth mentoring program, our prayer is that you have seen the passion our staff and volunteers have for serving our young people.
Hopefully, you also see the opportunity to serve more young people in Greater Cincinnati with that same love, compassion, and passion. The friendships that have been formed in our mentoring program have seen growth for all those involved.
As we dive into a new school year, our mentoring team has created some areas of emphasis that we believe can boost our efforts.
The first and most important area is the partnership with like-minded churches across the city. The system’s foundation relies on churches with a passion for serving young people who mature into adults in our community and possibly members of a church body.
Another area of emphasis for us is increasing our male mentor presence in the program. We form our friendships with those whom our mentees can identify with as a human being. It is about capturing the full spectrum of humanity and identity, representing young men’s lives. By increasing the number of male mentors, we will also increase the number of young men mentored in our program.
In our society, many young males experience challenging negative narratives (“There is a male crisis,” “they’re at-risk,” “they’re culturally damaged,” “they don’t care about their education and need to be saved,” “they have deviant behavior,” “they need to modify behavior towards respectability,” “there is a pathology of Black/Latino males,” etc.). These narratives affect how our young men form their view of the world and themselves.
We need adult men who can buffer the results of negative experiences in school due to cultural differences or discrimination (1. Cooper et al., 2013).
Our young men need someone who will be a friend. Someone who will help them navigate through these negative experiences and shield them from future ones. So that our young men have an opportunity to build the self-confidence to take on this world and see how their gifts will fit into a purpose within it.
That way, they’ll guard the next generation against these same images. Statistics from mentoring.org show that mentored children are 90% more likely to become a mentor themselves.
If we are going to help combat the adverse experiences for our young men, it will take the current generation of adult men to step in and form friendships now. For each friendship formed, one more young man has a chance to combat these negative images in the world.
The City Gospel Mission youth mentoring program is looking for churches to partner with for the school year. If your church has a calling to minister to Greater Cincinnati’s youth, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can make an impact in their lives.
Joe Dixon is the Director of Youth Mentoring at City Gospel Mission. He can be reached at email@example.com
City Gospel Mission is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules and regulations.