Column

Being a Big Sister can make all the difference in a child's life

By Karen Koyote
For The Taos News
Posted 1/16/19

January is National Mentoring Month, and at a time when much of the focus is on what divides us, research shows that there is something the majority of Americans can agree on.

You have exceeded your story limit for this 30-day period.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Column

Being a Big Sister can make all the difference in a child's life

Posted

January is National Mentoring Month, and at a time when much of the focus is on what divides us, research shows that there is something the majority of Americans can agree on.

Americans are overwhelmingly crossing racial, economic and other bridges to mentor young people outside their families. They also believe mentoring relationships are powerful tools for connection and are critical to our country's future. Also, more than 80 percent of adults in the research survey agreed with government investment in mentoring and more than two-thirds were already mentoring or willing to consider it.

Mentoring takes place between a younger person and older or more experienced person who acts in a nonprofessional helping role to provide support that benefits the young person's life. If you look back, many of you could probably think of someone who had that kind of impact on you, someone who took the time to support or encourage you along the way.

Rosenda and Skyla were matched in 2010 in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-Based program. Skyla was nine years old at the time, a quiet, shy, agreeable girl being raised along with her three siblings by her single father.

When they first met, Rosenda took Skyla to the museum and noticed that she was struggling to read the information on the signs. Rosenda resolved to become a strong advocate for Skyla, helping her in all aspects of her education. She got involved with her teachers, found her tutors, read books with her and attended her Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and parent-teacher conferences with her father. Rosenda would pick Skyla up from school each day and help her with her homework until dark. Even though Rosenda knew that was not necessarily her role as a Big Sister, she was determined to help Skyla reach her potential.

Rosenda's family loves Skyla as well and has also helped to raise her confidence. Two years ago, Rosenda helped get Skyla into the Upward Bound Math and Science program at the University of New Mexico in Taos, which allowed her to receive more enriching educational experiences, and even a stipend. Rosenda works with her on life skills such as helping her navigate riding the bus, working with her on time management and many other practical things.

Skyla is 17 years old now and a junior in high school. Her grades have gone from D's and F's to A's and B's. Her reading has improved, and she is learning to type. Skyla is a thoughtful, social, creative, artistic and poised young lady with a great imagination and a desire to major in media and digital arts someday.

Rosenda has made a real difference in Skyla's life and has made a significant time commitment to her. Yet even as little as an hour a week at the child's school or two to four times a month meeting in the community, doing activities and having fun can make a real difference to a child.

"Skyla gave me renewed life and opened my eyes to new things and a feeling of appreciation for what I have," says Rosenda. "It's a good feeling to make a positive impact in a child's life; I could not have done it without her. It's been a win-win as far as I am concerned!"

If you would like to get involved, call BBBS Mountain Region Taos/Colfax at (575) 770-5751 or visit bbbsmountainregion.org.

Comments


Private mode detected!

In order to read our site, please exit private/incognito mode or log in to continue.