Family ReEntry was proud to host a Mentoring Summit on January 24th in celebration of National Mentoring Month! This event was co-sponsored by The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, an organization that is an affiliate of MENTOR National.
The Mentoring Summit was attended by Governor Ned Lamont, and many local providers who serve youth within Bridgeport. Other special guests included State Representatives, city officials, the Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools and volunteer mentors from Family ReEntry.
According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk youth who have mentors are:
• 55% more likely to enroll in college
• 78% more likely to volunteer in their communities
• 130% more likely to hold leadership positions
In highlighting the positive impact of mentoring, Millie Landock, shared a poignant moment in describing her mentoring relationship with a 13-year-old girl who was disengaged from school and experiencing behavioral difficulties. “My mentee, her dream was to be a dancer, but not the kind of dancer that you’re thinking of…” As their relationship developed, Landock shared how her mentee started to gain confidence and self-esteem, with a greater focus on her academics. “I’m so extremely proud of her graduating eighth grade, and now attending high school. Her dream today is to become a mechanic.”
The combination of anecdotal stories, actual mentoring data, and child development research points to the importance of positive adult connections for all children and young people. Relationships with a caring adult are a fundamental need, and is even more important for children exposed to increased risk factors, as caring connections have been shown to act as a protective factor, mitigating risk and increasing better youth outcomes.
Preliminary results from a new survey conducted by The Governor’s Prevention Partnership show as many as 7,000 young people in Bridgeport could benefit from a mentor but do not have one. That same survey finds that mentees currently outnumber mentors in Bridgeport by more than two to one. Governor Lamont, co-chair of The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, emphasized the need for more mentors across the Bridgeport area. In his proclamation of National Mentoring Month, he said “closing [the] mentoring gap will take more investment, partnership, and volunteers ready to make a difference in a child’s life.”