Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

VC Star – Reach Out Through Mentoring

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on January 20, 2010

By Tim Blaylock

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” This year marks 42 years since our country last heard his compelling voice challenging and calling us to “make America what it ought to be.”

Over those years, we’ve seen extraordinary progress and yet our society’s continued challenges remind us where we’ve fallen short of King’s ideals. Today, 40 million Americans — including 15 million children — live in poverty. More than 3.5 million Americans are homeless. We lose too many young people to the evils of drugs, violence and hopelessness. We can do more!

January is national Mentoring Month. While programs such as Boys & Girls Clubs and Big Brothers Big Sisters engage youths in positive and fun activities, mentoring also has a tremendous impact on education and graduation rates.

The evidence shows that students who participate in such programs experience improved grades, higher attendance and a more positive attitude. Further, they experience measurable decreases in alcohol and drug use, violence, skipping school and dropping out.

Research has also shown that programs that rely on volunteer mentors can play a powerful role in reducing drug abuse and youth violence while greatly enhancing a young person’s prospects for leading a healthy and productive life. Youths begin to believe in themselves and their capabilities when someone, who is not paid to care about them, believes in them anyway.

Being a mentor is the quintessential way to volunteer, and a meaningful mentoring relationship can last a lifetime. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County, we understand the critical importance of volunteering and the impact one person’s time, effort and care can have on the lives of one, two thousands of others.

When you were a child or young adult, was there someone in your life — a teacher, neighbor, relative, coach, friend, or boss — who encouraged you, showed you the ropes and helped you become who you are today? That person was a mentor to you.

Thursday is “Thank Your Mentor Day.” Join many others in honoring an important mentor in your life. Find that mentor and tell him how much you appreciate him, or communicate by sending a card, e-mail or via a phone call.

Becoming a mentor to a young person in your community by visiting or http://

Serve your community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by deciding to become a mentor and by making a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters or Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.

Our gratitude goes to the people who are devoted to seeing our youths succeed in life. Mentoring Month is a special time to recognize their deeds and is also a time to encourage more people to become mentors. What you will find is that not only are you helping someone else succeed, but your life will be greatly enhanced at the same time.

It is our hope that the people of our community will take the opportunity to share their time and talents with young people all over Ventura County. Our communities are full of fantastic children who have the ability to achieve greatness, and dedicated mentors can help them unlock their potential.

— Lynne West is the chief executive officer of the Big Bothers Big Sister of Ventura County. Tim Blaylock is the chief professional officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme and a trustee with the Rio School District.


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