Every kid needs a mentor . . .

By Anne Broaddus

Mentoring is a powerful force that often goes unnoticed and uncelebrated in our world. And yet if asked, most of us would be quick to name an individual who impacted us in a major way at some point in life.

I know I would . . .

So what exactly is a mentor?

Someone who chooses to walk alongside another person, pouring out love and encouragement, conveying intrinsic worth, tutoring, advising, affirming, offering hope and helping someone realize their inherent strengths and abilities . . . sometimes even changing the trajectory of a life.

No limits to age, socio-economic standing, ethnicity, race, or profession. At Brook Elementary School, our current Columbus Avenue Kids Hope USA, mentors range from BU students to a WWII veteran in his 90s.

Near our ministry’s beginnings, a gentleman walked into my office, plopped down and said a little gruffly, I don’t know why my wife made me come see you. What do you want me to do?

My immediate response caught him off guard, can you love a child? He stuttered a little as he managed an awkward yes, and the two of us began a special friendship as I watched him become a wonderful mentor! And what joy was mine as I saw his little guy’s eyes light up when his mentor came to see him each week.

Kids Hope USA is a national faith-based mentoring organization that partners one school with one church which selects, trains and places adults in one-on-one mentoring relationships with elementary children, one hour a week during the school day.

Seventh and James Baptist, First Baptist of Hewitt, and Central Presbyterian churches also have Kids Hope USA mentoring programs.

*There are several schools in the Waco district still wanting a Kids Hope ministry on their campus. Please contact me if your church has an interest!

The Columbus Avenue Kids Hope program is beginning its 9th school year at Brook Avenue Elementary where we have mentored close to 400 at-risk students selected by the school. Some mentors have had multiple students at Brook. Others have chosen to continue with their students who change schools. Currently, there are 19 at middle schools and high school!

So why tell you about us? Recent Prosper Waco blogs by Stephanie Kortweg, and Janessa Blythe discuss some of the negative impacts poverty has on at-risk students. And given the number of WISD students impacted by the stronghold of poverty, the potential statistics are staggering.

But there is hope and hope often comes in the form of a volunteer! Kids Hope USA was founded on research showing the dramatic positive impact that can be made on the life of a child by a caring, faithful and involved adult.

“I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world:  They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile . . .  They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.” — Kisses from Katie, a Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, Beth Clark, p. xi

Individuals linking arm in arm in the various mentoring organizations might just transform the next generation . . . and our city!

Below are comments from teachers and students giving you a glimpse into the positive impact mentors have had in the lives of children.

Both offered in hopes that some of you will decide that mentoring is not so scary!

Teachers said:

What Kids Hope mentors are doing for our students is amazing. Their presence is making a positive change in many lives. Students’ abilities in reading, math, and other areas of academics are improving . . . behaviors are getting better . . . students are interacting with people they would never have opportunity to meet otherwise. You are modeling a different way of being for our students to see and emulate . . . helping them trust and learn to build healthy relationships . . . a KH mentor is the best thing some of our kids have ever had in their lives!

Your program is not just Kids Hope. You also give us hope as teachers. You are a light on dark days, giving us reason to keep loving and teaching our kids. You let us know we are not alone. You are part of the community choosing to come to our school, not because you have to but because you want to be here. Year after year, supporting us, caring about us, standing with us. I am so grateful for Kids Hope!

Students said:

What do I like best about my mentor? That she actually comes! Every week!! 

My mentor taught me to turn fractions into decimals! Math isn’t so hard now.

My mentor is a great man, helps me a lot academically and in how I act toward and care about others.

My mentor has been a miracle since the first day she came into my life in elementary school, and she is a miracle every time she comes to see me! She helps me handle my emotions, and has helped me believe I am not a bad person. She’s taught me a lot about treating others with respect and honoring other people. She still comes to see me as a teenager and is there when I need her. She is the best person I have ever been around. I am so very grateful my mentor came into my life.

A mentor is like being given someone to help with your problems, to be your friend. Every kid needs a mentor . . .

Who are you mentoring?

The possibilities are endless – contact our mentoring coalition and find your place among us as a mentor!

Anne Broaddus is a native Wacoan, attended Midway schools, and holds degrees from Baylor University and Truett Seminary. Her 2008 retirement from teaching just meant a career change! Anne currently serves on staff at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church as Director of Kids Hope USA mentoring ministry centered at WISD’s Brook Avenue Elementary School in North Waco. Beyond time with God and and her family, she is most happy in the mountains, with a good book or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend!

Contact Anne at [email protected].   You can learn more about Kids Hope U.S.A. at http://cabcwaco.sitewrench.com/kidshopeusa  or http://www.kidshopeusa.org/home/





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