Mentoring is available
I found Julia Hancock-Song’s “Simple Request” commentary last week regarding teen suicide well expressed and powerfully written. Her words spoke to me on both a personal and professional level.
I have been thinking about them ever since. I find it obscene and unacceptable that, here in Vermont, teen suicide is higher than the national average and the second leading cause of death in 10- to 34-year-olds.
Like many, I, too, have lost a close family member to suicide. I continue to pray for others in my family and circle of close friends who suffer from the isolation and loneliness of severe depression. As coordinator of Girls/Boyz First mentoring program, I believe that effective mentoring can be an incredible antidote to the isolation and confusion of adolescence. Mentors provide youth with a consistent positive, caring and supportive adult who meets with them regularly. Effective adult mentors are often that special trusted someone with whom a teen can feel safe to share their personal journey toward adulthood. Mentoring, by its very design, is a potent tool to increase social connection, provide a listening and caring ear, offer resources and ideas for increasing wellness and healthy lifestyle choices and, when needed, work toward combating the worst-case scenario of teen suicide. Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship. It’s straightforward, research-based and cost-effective.
In these challenging economic and social times, when families and kids can be more stressed than ever, we must do all we can to keep a mentoring safety net available to the central Vermont community. Adult mentors are needed to provide this kind of support to youth in our community. Financial contributions are also greatly appreciated. If you or someone you know is looking to make a difference in the life of a child, please contact me, Wendy Freundlich, coordinator of Girls/Boyz First mentoring, at 229-4798 or www.communityconnections.us and let’s talk.
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