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The mission of Mesa County Partners is to make a difference in the lives of young people by helping them develop a positive self image, a sense of belonging and an acceptance of responsibility for their actions.
The main program needing volunteers at Mesa County Partners is the One to One mentoring program that provides Junior Partners (youth) with a positive role model. They are matched with their Senior Partner (volunteer mentor) according to needs, common interests and individual personalities.
The partnership spends three hours a week together, for one year. The Partners organization provides free or low cost activities two to three times a month, which includes rafting, picnics, swimming and holiday parties. Monthly contact is also provided by Partners, which includes different resources to help support the partnership.
Presently, over 100 youth are waiting for a Senior Partner. Most are 'at risk' (single parent homes, delinquency, physical abuse, neglect or substance abuse) and are referred to Partners by a variety of outside agencies.
The job of a Senior Partner is not always easy but it does require a commitment. If you care about the community and its children, it is proven that youth have a better chance of succeeding with a role model. A mentor is someone who will listen, encourage and attempt to find the best in any situation. A little of your time can mean a lifetime difference to a child.
A recent study by Philadelphia based Public/Private Ventures, on the Big Sisters and Big Brothers program noted the following findings on children who meet regularly with a mentor:1. 46% are less likely to use drugs (minority youth were 70% less likely
2. 27% were less likely to use alcohol
3. 52% were less likely to skip a day of school
4. 37% were less likely to skip a class
5. 33% were less likely to hit someone
Additionally, the findings showed that the children in these programs had better and more trusting relationship with adults and were less likely to be deceitful. The participants also felt more supported and less criticized by peers.
Partners' programs of Colorado conducted yet another survey, which focused on the before and after effects of a mentor. The conclusions were: Significant improvements in self-esteem, violence against other persons, future orientation, school bonding and school performance. The evaluation also shows reductions in delinquent behavior and substance abusing behavior for youth that have a Senior Partner for one year or more.
The goal at Partners is, "to facilitate the transformation of high risk youth into healthy young adults.
- Joe Higgins
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