The need for mentors of color

Andrea Cabral | 10/13/2009, 11:01 a.m.

This is a critical gap we must address.  It is not acceptable that Black and Latino mentees outnumber Black and Latino mentors three to one.  This level of need is deeply troubling and already at the crisis point.  Mentors are something our community can provide.  We can and should be well represented among the caring adults eager to bring their life experiences and diverse history to the kids who need them.  And any mentor will tell you that the power of this work is transformative for them as well.

 There are too many children with incarcerated parents and too many young adults headed there themselves.  There are too many kids waiting for someone to care, and too many of us to justify that wait.  Do something about it.  Become a mentor.  If you can’t mentor, be a resource for those who do.   Contact the Mass Mentoring Partnership, find a mentoring program and volunteer some time.  Offer your place of business to mentors and mentees for a tour and a talk about what you do and how you’ve achieved your goals.   Perhaps a group of artists could adopt a local mentoring program and sponsor an “Art-a-Thon.”  Lawyers can donate office space, volunteer to be advisors and sponsor a mock trial competition.  Teachers can help tutor or give classes on creative writing.  Ask how you can donate gift certificates for plays, museums, films, concerts, anything that will help a mentor expand their mentee’s knowledge and open their world.

Do whatever you can whenever you can.  It will make a huge difference in the life of every child you help.

To find out more information on the Mentors of Color Campaign, visit www.youcanmentor2.org.

Andrea J. Cabral is a former prosecutor and the Sheriff of Suffolk County