Mentor Kevin Sand enjoys fishing with his buddy, Timothy. (Submitted photo)
Mentor Kevin Sand enjoys fishing with his buddy, Timothy. (Submitted photo)
January is National Mentoring Month, and Youth Mentoring at Helping Services is celebrating the annual campaign aimed at expanding quality mentoring opportunities to connect more of the community’s young people with a friend.

Area communities have a list of 23 kids who are waiting to spend time with an adult friend. According to groundbreaking research from the National Mentoring Center, people across the United States believe mentoring unites us, there is a critical opportunity to increasingly engage the public in mentoring, and a significant percentage of adults are mentoring kids outside their family. The results further reveal:

• 44 percent of Americans aren’t mentoring yet, but are willing to consider it;
• 73 percent of employees report strong career satisfaction when their employers support youth mentoring;
73 percent of mentors are mentoring youth of a different ethnicity.

Research also shows mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, attend and engage in school and reduce or avoid risky behavior like drug use.

Kevin Sand has been a mentor for over 10 years through Helping Services.
“This is a really positive experience. It’s not a lot of time. It makes me do things I might not otherwise do,” Sand said. “You get to have fun and see things from a kids’ perspective.”

January is a time of fresh starts, and a month when many re-evaluate their commitments and where they are placing their energy and time. Mentoring is a great way to get involved in supporting youth in the community; but it is also a great way to channel energy and time toward something positive and fulfilling, yet so simple – just being a friend.

Greg Schutte and Keystone AEA will offer a special learning opportunity Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 6 to 7 p.m., at First Lutheran Church’s Fireside Room in Decorah. Adults are invited to attend Schutte’s presentation about “Understanding ADHD, Anxiety and Depression.”

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in thecommunity and to find volunteer opportunities visit, couples and families can mentor youth. Request an application, or contact Kathy Schwartzhoff at 563-387-1720.

Serving families since 1973, Helping Services for Youth & Families is dedicated to responding to current health and safety needs of youth and families through empowerment, support and education.