“The dedication of mentors has helped countless young men and women succeed when they might have otherwise fallen short of their full potential,” said President Obama in his recent Presidential Proclamation designating January as National Mentoring Month.
In honor of this month, I want to share a little bit about two great organizations within the Des Moines community that I mentor with – Everybody Wins! Iowa and Mentor Iowa. While both of these non-profit organizations utilize mentors, each organization has a unique mission.
Everybody Wins! Iowa is an organization that is dedicated to increasing children’s success in school through reading and mentoring experience, whereas Mentor Iowa is dedicated to providing mentors for abused, neglected and delinquent children who are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.
I volunteer as a mentor with these organizations because I believe mentoring is a great way to give back to Des Moines by supporting children who will grow up to be an important part of our future and community. Through mentoring I hope to give my mentee’s a steady presence and a positive influence in their lives, while sharing a bit of knowledge and guidance along the way.
As is the case with most non-profit organizations, volunteers are crucial to Everybody Wins! Iowa and to Mentor Iowa. Without the support and the assistance of community members, these programs and services would not be possible.
“The volunteers we have are the vital ingredient to making a positive match for a child referred to our program,” said Marty Lester, Executive Director at Mentor Iowa. “The Judges who refer the children to our program understand the importance of a positive adult role model can make on the life of a child.”
I choose to mentor for both of these organizations because I believe in their missions and the positive impact that they are making in the lives of local children and families. I also enjoy that both organizations offer volunteers a unique way to become active within Des Moines, while helping much deserving children.
“Everybody Wins! Iowa and Des Moines need each other,” said Tyler Weig, Executive Director with Everybody Wins! Iowa. “We rely on the generosity of Des Moines residents, both in time and dollars, and Des Moines is a stronger city because of it. When children are successful, the city is successful.”
Currently, Mentor Iowa has over 60 kids on their waiting list who are in need of a mentor. Similarly, Everybody Wins! Iowa is always looking for volunteers to assist with their school-based “Power Lunch” and “Power Breakfast” programs.
“There are children in central Iowa ready for someone to care about them, to be a positive role model for them, and to nudge them in the direction of success,” said Weig.
If you’re interested in learning how you can help by becoming a mentor or by donating to these organizations, please visit their respective websites (Everybody Wins! Iowa – Mentor Iowa) or feel free to contact me personally.