SNOW HILL – Worcester County recognized the importance of mentoring with a proclamation this week.
On Tuesday, the Worcester County Commissioners partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore to proclaim January as National Mentoring Month.
“I encourage everyone here, and everyone who you might know, if you have the time and the inclination to get involved with organizations like this because it makes a huge difference in the youth in our community,” Commissioner Joshua Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom presented the proclamation Tuesday to Robert McClure of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Shore. Nordstrom said he himself was a longtime board member of the organization and had seen firsthand how important mentoring was during his years of involvement.
“The statistics are staggering in how many children are able to be kept out of various forms of trouble just by mentoring and having someone in their lives,” he said. “I know the organization pretty well by this point and it is a wonderful thing to be a part of and something wonderful to have in our community as well.”
McClure said mentoring played an important role for children, particularly those who faced adversity in their lives. He said many of the kids his organization worked with dealt with bullying, while others came from single parent homes. Others lived with grandparents.
“There’s one young man I can think of in particular, an 8-year-old boy who — his mother and father are not involved in his life at all — he’s staying with his grandmother who’s disabled and what he’s seeking is someone to play basketball with him,” McClure said. “Those are the kind of people that the mentors that we work with benefit most.”
He said mentors enriched children’s lives by simply sharing their time and offering encouragement that caregivers might not be able to provide.
“Our research has shown that the kids in our program graduate high school and go to college at a higher than national average rate,” he said.
He added that children involved in the mentoring program were 33 percent less likely to begin using drugs and were 50 percent less likely to engage in violent crime.
“Mentoring has been proven to work,” McClure said. “And I thank you on behalf of the mentoring community for recognizing the value and the need for mentoring in our community.”