Have you ever thought about, what a difference a youth mentor makes? Or what mentoring can provide for a child? With a mentor, a child develops aspirations, considers new ideas, learns to discus and debate, learns to trust, and dreams of the future. For eighteen years, Bridges Mentoring has helped hundreds of youngsters realize their dreams.

Bridges trains and supports mentors for youth in Osage, St. Ansgar and Riceville school districts. By carefully matching volunteer partners with a child, we provide hope for children who often lack it. We see the goodness in children and help them see their own strengths and abilities to realize their potential. We invigorate the next generation so they become loyal, contributing members of our communities.

As the program coordinator I have seen firsthand many children, along with their mentors, flourish and shine. I have received positive feedback from teachers and parents who have seen improvements in these children’s morals, self-esteem and academic performance. I have also heard from mentors multiple times how rewarding this experience has been for them.

It’s said to take a village to raise a child. I believe this to be true for the 55 plus adults who donate their time, patience and love to these children through our program. The National Mentoring Partnership calculates the average expense of mentoring program is $1,400 per student per year. Bridges has managed to operate at less than that amount. Bridges Mentoring provides a critical service to our community, and we need continued support and resources in order to provide these services to more children.

Bridges is in desperate need of financial support in order to continue. If we do not receive more donations, our program will dissolve. Leaving 50 plus children without mentors and 29 more left on the waiting list. There is a true demand for positive mentoring relationships for our youth. Please consider supporting our program. Thank you all who continue to donate; your gift is not just a donation, it is an investment in the future of our community’s youth. Donations are fully tax deductible and can be mailed to Bridges Mentoring PO Box 131 Osage, IA 50461.

For more information regarding the program, please contact me at lwaller@nicao-online.org.