I saw the movie Just Mercy last week after reading the book over a year ago, both of which I highly recommend. As I read through all the stories of people unjustly caught up in our criminal justice system, it struck me how many of these people had history in foster care. I can't say I was completely surprised, but it further confirmed for me that the work we are doing is important. The mission of BEST Kids aims to provide our youth with at least one adult that they know is in their corner, regardless of what they are going through, good or bad. Mentoring is not always easy, especially given the high levels of trauma and instability our youth have experienced. However, from getting to know our mentors and mentees over these last 7 years, I've seen that mentoring can not only be fun and rewarding, but it is also one of the most impactful ways to support a youth and help instill hope in youth who have persisted through difficult circumstances with resilience.
As we celebrate National Mentoring Month this January, I urge to you consider how you can be part of the mentoring movement. Perhaps its becoming a mentor yourself with an organization like ours, or even just to a neighbor or other young person in your community. If mentoring isn't right for you at this point in your life, think about donating or volunteering to support organizations that make these relationships possible for youth who really need that extra support and guidance. We can all resolve to do better and to do more.
Author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, explains, "You ultimately judge the civility of a society not by how it treats the rich, the powerful, the protected and the highly esteemed, but by how it treats the poor, the disfavored and the disadvantaged."
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