Millions of children in America are searching for proof that their life is worth something and that someone cares about their future. At Kids Hope we believe that one simple thing will make a big difference in the life of an at-risk child, positive attention from a responsible, caring adult. As such, our mentors work hard to develop a one-on-one, supportive relationship with an at-risk child.
As Jessie and Kayla’s story explains below, our mentors spend one hour a week, reading, talking, playing encouraging, challenging and listening to a child at school. By helping the child feel valued, they help them grow and succeed.
“It is not uncommon for an at-risk child to be told that education is unimportant and that college is unnecessary. This was definitely evident in the life of my “little”, Kayla.
After asking Kayla about her future and college, she responded by saying, “I’m not going to college… it’s too much work and too much money.” She went on to explain that she wanted to be a dance teacher or a rapper. Even after informing her that she would still need a degree to be profitable in that profession, she was still adamant about not attending college. This broke my heart! From that point forward, I made it a point to talk about my experiences in college and stress the importance of an education during each of our meetings. Week after week we talked about the importance of school, and week after week Kayla remained uninterested.
Then, it happened. We were coloring together when Kayla looked at me and said, “Jessie, I think I’m going to go to college to be a teacher.” It took everything I had not to jump up and down while screaming like a crazy person!! This was the best thing I had heard her say out of all of our sessions together.
For the rest of our session, we talked about how attending college really is an option for everyone, depending on how hard you’re willing to work for it. Even after her Spring Break, Kayla continued to talk about going to college and I could already see her working harder on her schoolwork.”
As a result of Jessie’s consistent commitment Kayla now has a completely different outlook on her future and the possibilities it holds. It is for this reason, that this one hour a week, every week, is the most important hour many of these kids have. This one hour really can change the trajectory of a child’s life and leave a lasting impression.