January is National Mentoring Month!
The Friends Program, a nonprofit based in Concord, knows that a trusted and supportive adult can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life. That’s why they’ve helped foster meaningful intergenerational relationships for nearly 50 years. January is National Mentoring Month and the Friends Program is celebrating with a free event on January 20th at the City Wide Community Center located in Concord, NH. Families are encouraged to attend this fun family event as well as mentors past, present and future to share stories and celebrate the impact of mentoring on their lives.
The Friends Program offers multiple ways for people to get involved. The Foster Grandparent Program, an AmeriCorps Seniors initiative, connects adults 55 and older with childcare centers and schools across New Hampshire, where they support young minds with reading, math, and other academic pursuits. More than this, they also serve as role models for at-risk children, keep struggling students on track, and provide essential encouragement and emotional support that helps students thrive and staff free up valuable time. One teacher shared, "Our volunteer is the only other consistent adult in my room. Her support is invaluable to me." The presence of older adult volunteers not only lightens the load for educators but also offers students a chance for intergenerational connection. This program also offers a stipend to income qualifying volunteers.
For adults of all ages in Concord, Friends’ Youth Mentoring is also an option. Youth mentors spend their time volunteering with children between 6 and 17 who would especially benefit from a positive role model. Recognizing each child's uniqueness and diverse circumstances, staff carefully pair mentors with mentees who share a share an interest or skill. In just a few hours each week, volunteers spend quality time with their mentee, helping them gain esteem, confidence, and coping skills that will inspire the realization of goals and dreams and encourage healthy choices for years to come.
Whether it’s as a classroom grandparent or youth mentor, every volunteer plays a pivotal role in fostering confidence and success in a new generation. Children across the state are eagerly waiting for a caring adult to help them unleash their potential and reveal just how special they truly are. Your time and dedication can be the key to unlocking a brighter future for these children, fostering a sense of empowerment and self-discovery that will last a lifetime, with support from the Friends Program every step of the way. Engaging as a volunteer creates a reciprocal relationship that offers a sense of purpose and connection. As one volunteer expressed, "Becoming a volunteer with Friends has allowed me to keep my brain sharp, get out of the house, and give back to my community in a way that I feel good about." Volunteers witness the impact of their service, as shared by a current Youth Mentor volunteer: “I have seen my mentee’s confidence grow, I have seen her start to focus more on her future. I have experienced joy helping her navigate so many new experiences.”
Anyone interested in becoming a guiding force for the next generation is invited to the Friends Program’s Celebrate Youth Mentoring event on January 20th, 2024, from 11:30 am-1 pm. Families are welcome to come for games, snacks and crafts. Volunteers and staff from both programs will be available to share their experiences, answer questions, and help people discover if becoming a volunteer is the right fit. More information is available at friendsprogram.org or (603) 228-1193. A small commitment can make a big difference in building a better tomorrow for New Hampshire's children.