SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – January is National Mentoring month and Thursday morning, several community leaders gathered to discuss furthering mentorship programs in the Springfield community.
Representatives from the Mass Mentoring Partnership told 22News that the need for mentors in western Massachusetts is great. In Springfield alone, there are nearly 600 young people currently on a waiting list.
First -time Mentor Bob Brown of South Hadley, a branch manager for First Niagara Bank, told 22News that once you’re able to break the ice, the rewards of the relationship are great.
“A lot of it is just trying to get them to open up and to find a common bond and an emotional connection that you can connect with that kid, so the conversation starts to flow, and I think any mentor will tell you the same thing,” Brown said.
Mentoring research shows that students who are mentored have higher graduation and attendance rates. Brown’s mentee has improved in school, and has joined the wrestling team since their time together.
The event was put on by the Mass Mentoring Partnership and First Niagara Bank, which contributes one million dollars every year to mentoring programs across the four states that they serve.