January is National Mentoring Month

SOUTH BEND January is National Mentoring Month, and organizations across the country are encouraging more people to get involved.

Experts say an hour a week can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child.

"The equation is simple," said Bill Stanczykiewicz, from the Indiana Youth Institute. "One adult, one child, one hour at least once a week for one school year."

Locally, mentors are already making a difference in the lives of children.

"I've been in Big Brothers Big Sisters for about 6 years now," said Izaiah Davis, a 13-year-old from South Bend. "When I was younger I got in trouble a lot. But it changed."

Izaiah has been paired with his "big brother," Gavin Ferlic for 4 years.

"He's improved in terms of his study habits," said Ferlic. "He, a couple times in the past had a tougher time with teachers in school, but I think his respect has improved, he's improved as a student."

Mentor advocates say success stories like these prove that more adults should get on board.

"When you build that kind of trust with a child, they'll start to listen," said Deborah Burrow, the Executive Director at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Joseph County. "Our kids are just looking for a friend and a role model and someone to spend time with. You don't have to be an expert and we're there to help along the way."

There are many ways to get involved throughout Michiana, including a new initiative in South Bend, started in part by Mayor Pete Buttigieg and councilman Gavin Ferlic. To learn more, click here.

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