By: Lynda Robinson, Poverty Reduction Taskforce Manager
Kids need wisdom and guidance as protective factors if they're going to flourish in their lives. One of those protective factors comes from having solid adults who can be like their rock and mentors can do that.
Sometimes kids need an adult who is not their parent, somebody that they can hear because parents might be saying all the right things but when somebody else says it, all of a sudden a kid listens, because it's an adult who cares but who is not a family member.
When you work with kids in education for a long time and then they come back and tell you the one comment you said that made the biggest impact on them, it floors you. It's usually not anything you remember, just something simple. But you pour into their lives and there's different things that come out that make them change the way they see, the way they listen to outside influences.
Obviously they are still individuals and they have their own decisions to make. And I've seen a lot of kids that I really tried to steer in a different direction because I knew the direction they were going was hurtful, but they still have their own decisions to make.
But it's nice when they come back and say, “I should have listened to you,” or, “thank you for pouring into me. I know what you were trying to do was a good thing.” So they see it, they know what's true and what's honest, even if they choose not to follow that advice or that direction.
One of the biggest Movement Day Tucson prototypes that we came up with in 2022 is getting kids connected with mentors. That's super exciting because it's getting affirmation from the community, people that came together, that they also see the value of mentoring. I'm very excited to be moving in that direction.