When I saw a TV interview with Lydia Muniz from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, something she said repulsed me. She told interviewer Helen Ferre that Miami is dead last out of 51 metro areas when it comes to its volunteer rate. Dead last.
Growing up in South Florida, I'm the first to admit that we tend to be self absorbed in the Sunshine State. We also consider ourselves very busy people with little time or money to donate to help others.
I get it, people are busy. We work long hours. We carry our smartphones on us all the time and can't get away from work calls and email. We have wives. We have kids. We have hobbies we want to pursue. Mentoring a child just doesn't seem like it should be something we sacrifice our free time to do.
But here's an interesting tidbit:
A study by Wharton’s Cassie Mogilner, published in the Harvard Business Review, found spending time helping others left participants feeling as if they have more time, not less. Mogilner’s research shows that spending as few as 10 minutes helping others can make people not only feel less time-constrained but also feel capable, confident and useful.
If that's not motivation here's another tidbit:
Children who are mentored maintain better attitudes toward schools and are less likely to use drugs or start drinking, according to Mentoring.org, a nonprofit charged with expanding youth mentoring relationships.
With that as our motivation, we should be able to figure out how to mentor a child without it taking too much of our time. January is National Mentoring Month so this happens to be a great time to consider it.
SOME YOUTH MENTORING ORGANIZATIONS
▪ Stand Up for Kids (standupforkids.org)
▪ Big Brothers Big Sisters (bbbsmiami.org)
▪ Girl Power Rocks (girlpowerrocks.org)
▪ Honey Shine Mentoring Program (honeyshine.org)
▪ Women of Tomorrow (womenoftomorrow.org)
▪ Take Stock in Children (takestockinchildren.org)
Read more on this topic in today's Miami Herald.