No matter who they are or where they live, every child has dreams of doing big things. They have unique talents, and they face obstacles—sometimes a lot more obstacles. Our youth and the extraordinary relationship they build with mentors make a lasting impact on their lives.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an engineer. It started when I was 10, and I disassembled and re-assembled by mother’s favorite chair. I realized that dream because someone believed in me and encouraged my unusual curiosity about how things worked. The small but regular investment in time helped make a difference in my life and the people around me.
That is exactly why I devote my time to an organization making a difference in children’s lives – Friends of the Children.
Children born into poverty are at risk for dropping out of school, substance abuse, incarceration, and teen parenting. Friends of the Children provide a mentor, called a Friend, for the entire childhood of a youth, from kindergarten through high school graduation.
They have amazing results – 83% of their youth graduate high school, 93% avoid the juvenile justice system, and 98% avoid early parenting.
My favorite and most moving time has been the time spent with the older kids and graduates of the program. Seeing exactly how the program has made a positive difference in their lives has been hugely impactful. To know that a sustained investment was actually altering their lives and setting them on a positive path is incredibly rewarding. My wife, Christy, also volunteers weekly with the organization. Hearing her stories of making a difference are equally as special.
Each month, Friends of the Children selects a core asset. This month is a Growth Mindset. I believe a growth mindset’s foundation is the willingness to adapt and change when necessary. It is a valuable approach that allows you to continually learn and improve. With the ability to change and understand, you can always be better, you are unstoppable.
Now that I’ve shared this organization that’s very important to me, I want to hear about the organizations that are important to you. What causes are you passionate about? Tell me about them in the comments below.