Listening to 104.5 driving into work, I was struck by the overwhelming and generous response to the call for toys for Christmas. Most of us love Christmas. We love giving toys to put smiles on the faces of children. We want everyone to have the fun Christmas memories of our childhoods—wrapping paper strewn everywhere, shiny new things, laughter, wonder, and surprise. At PTM, we love toys too and will spend a lot of time and resources helping our families have Christmas gifts that they can be excited about.
But, I want more than toys for our students. I want to offer something that lasts longer than a couple of days, and that creates a joy deeper than the excitement of a new video game. We know the greatest gift for our students is a relationship with Jesus Christ and that relationship is often learned through a relationship with a caring adult.
As you are considering ways to make Christmas extra special for children and youth across Nashville, will you consider giving a mentor? It is a gift that will truly make a lasting impact.
Here are two ways to “give a mentor” for Christmas:
One, make a contribution that will cover the cost of one student’s participation in a mentoring relationship. I estimate that cost to be $211 per relationship (the cost of staff coordination of four PTM mentoring programs plus background and volunteer screens). You may donate online—please indicate “mentor” in the memo line.
Two, commit to being a mentor. PTM currently has 180 one-on-one mentoring matches. We have nearly 100 students on a waiting list for a mentor. We have four mentoring programs: lunchmates (once a week over lunch in school cafeteria), Breakfast and Bible Study (Thursday mornings from 6:45-7:45), SnackChat (Wednesday afternoons from 1:45-2:15), and Dinner and Devo (Monday evenings from 6:00-7:30). If you are looking for a way to serve (with the very real likelihood of significant personal benefit), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information and to get started.
The research promoting the power of mentoring is impressive:
• Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are: 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)
• Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. (The Mentoring Effect, 2014)
Additionally, I am convinced the biggest predictor of a youth becoming successful in life is the existence of a relationship with a caring adult. That is my Christmas wish for the children and youth at PTM.