By David Anderson and Dave O’Keeffe
Given the recent tragic events in our schools and communities, the time is ripe to connect more caring adults with kids who are struggling in school and in life.
The public is invited to a panel discussion on the topic of mentoring on Feb. 7, 6:30 P.M. at the Tillicum Community Center, 14916 Washington Ave. SW, Lakewood, WA 98498. Panelists will represent local mentoring organizations.
Consider the following:
- “For boys, the road to successful manhood has crumbled. In many boys’ journey from a fatherless family to an almost all-female staff elementary school such as Sandy Hook, there is no constructive male role model.
“Adam Lanza is reported to have gone downhill when divorce separated him from his dad. Children of divorce without enough father contact are prone to have poor social skills; to struggle with the five D’s (depression, drugs, drinking, discipline and delinquency); be suicidal; be less able to concentrate; and to be aggressive but not assertive. Perhaps most important, these boys are less empathetic.” (USA Today, January 6, 2013)
- President Obama, at a prayer vigil at Sandy Hook, declared “This is our first task – caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.”
As our Washington State Legislature looks comprehensively at options for curbing violence, we believe there could hardly be a better remedy than this formula:
Every child, plus every child with a mentor, equals every child’s success.
Ideally our state educators and legislative leaders, in understanding the utmost importance of the mentor-relationship, would encourage and support the drafting of legislation that would enable the placement of mentor coordinators in every school district in our state.
After all, being mentored as a boy is not unlike getting your fishing line all tangled with that of your dad’s – if he’s available – as this story linked here illustrates.
We hope to hear from you in response to this letter – your attendance, your support, and the circulation of this that you’ve received here among those who might help us realize our dream.
David Anderson, President, Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association
Dave O’Keeffe, Executive Director, Communities in Schools Lakewood