Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Share Your Story About a Positive Male Mentor for the United Way Day of Action

Now through the United Way Day of Action on June 21, Middlesex United Way is inviting people from all across the community to share their stories about a positive male mentor in their lives. Stories can be submitted at www.middlesexunitedway.org/yourstory and will be posted on United Way’s website and shared on social media. Together, we can send a strong message about the importance of positive male role models in young people’s lives.
The United Way Day of Action takes place each year on or leading up to June 21, the summer solstice. The Day of Action is meant to call attention to an important issue or cause and ask people to “take action” in support of it.
According to Kevin Wilhelm, Middlesex United Way Executive Director, “We decided to focus on positive male mentoring for Day of Action because it ties into our work in the area of health and more specifically, our goal to reduce the rate of risky behaviors among youth. There is no doubt that all children can benefit from a positive male role model or mentor, not only to reduce high-risk behaviors but to make good choices that will lead to a greater chance of success in life.”
It is estimated that there are more than twenty million children in the United States being raised in fatherless households. A high percentage of these kids have no contact with their father. Additionally, the National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) reports that 18 million youth in the United States would benefit from a mentor, yet only three million have one.
According to MENTOR, youth that have a positive role model or mentor attend school more regularly and have a better chance of attending post-secondary school, are less likely to use illegal drugs, and tend to set and achieve career goals more frequently.
A Child’s Trend Research Brief reports that at-risk youth receive the greatest benefit from having an adult mentor and that youths from families who provide little support that attend poorly performing public schools improved their school performance the most with a mentor.
Both boys and girls benefit from a positive male role model. If a boy does not have a role model, he may turn towards outside influences including his peers and images gathered on TV. Girls also need a proper example of a strong, kind, moral father-figure to help them understand how they should be treated by future men that will come into their lives.
In addition to volunteering to become a mentor, there are things that adults can do every day to model positive, responsible behavior according to the Middletown Youth Services Bureau’s Asset Promise website. Realize that the community’s youth learn from you and all that you do is observed and practiced by them. You can also identify other positive adults in your life and find ways for your kids to build relationships with them.
Middlesex United Way is advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income, health and housing – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. You are invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. That’s what it means to Live United.
Middlesex United Way is a locally-based organization serving the towns of Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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