This is National Mentoring Month. It seems as if every cause has a month - some more important than others.

This one is at the top of the list of causes that need to be recognized and addressed.

Gina Lawrence-Freeman, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County recently submitted a letter to The Madison Courier detailing the importance of local volunteers to help our children in need of mentoring.

She wrote: “This year we want to use this opportunity to pay tribute to our donors, the often unsung heroes whose funding makes possible the professional match support and structure that bring people like Big Brother Ryan and Little Brother Devin together and help sustain our mentoring matches over time.  At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County , we know that longer matches yield strong results for our Littles.

They key to success is to develop long-term mentor-child relationship.

“Our priority and what differentiates Big Brothers Big Sisters is our commitment to providing long-term mentoring, resulting in proven positive educational and social outcomes, improving kids’ chances to succeed. Donors enable Big Brothers Big Sisters’ quality staff, backed by proven support systems and structures, to provide ongoing support for “Littles,” their families and “Bigs,” from before each match is made, throughout the course of the mentoring friendship.

Of course, there are never enough volunteers. BBBS needs more adults to provide mentorships to children on the waiting list.

A mentor is more likely to increase his or her appreciation for diversity, feel more productive at work, develop core leadership skills and communication skills and feel good for having positively influenced another life.

“When a child receives a Big Brother or Big Sister, they embark on a journey that ultimately leads to their growth and success. Through the guidance and friendship of their mentors Littles are given the hope to dream bigger, the opportunity to see beyond the boundaries of their neighborhoods, and the challenge to think beyond their ideas of what they are capable of achieving.  This journey takes them farther than they ever once imagined, and it all begins with that first step that brings them through the doors of our organization,” Freeman wrote.

It takes a network of mentors, families, corporate and educational partners and individual donors to develop a successful program.

Consider becoming a mentor. For more information about mentoring a child in Jefferson County contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson at 812-273-0797 or email us at bbbs_jefferson@yahoo.com.