Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 6:20 am | Fog/Mist 51º


Fighting Back Mentor Telethon Fighting to Keep Children Out of Gangs

Be part of the solution by signing up during Tuesday's event to be a volunteer mentor

If you’re frustrated, saddened, even upset about youths being jumped into gangs, here’s your chance to do something about it.

The Fighting Back Mentor Program is partnering with KEYT-TV to host the 14th annual Mission for Mentors Telethon.

This special event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Paseo Nuevo Mall’s Center Court and is sponsored by Venoco Inc. and Cottage Health System.

During the Mission for Mentors Telethon, community members call in to pledge their time as volunteer mentors for children in the community. The phone number will be available on KEYT Channel 3 during the telethon. This event reaches hundreds of people in Santa Barbara County and brings in more than 4,700 volunteer mentor hours each year.

The Fighting Back Mentor Program is a school-based program that provides a one-on-one mentoring relationship for youths in South Santa Barbara County. Mentors are paired with fourth- through eighth-grade students who are struggling with a variety of academic or personal challenges. Mentors help these youths by teaching them life skills that build resiliency, increase self-esteem and improve academic performance. Furthermore, they give their mentees a feeling of belonging, the comfort of knowing that they are cared about.

Every youth has a talent, a skill, something to offer. We need to step up and show our kids that those skills can be utilized in a positive way. For example, if a child has the ability to persuade their friends to do something, or if they are always trying to argue with the teacher for what they feel is fair, you can help show them the path towards Student Body Leadership or Youth Council. By reaching out to them now, we take away the appeal of gangs, simply because we show them that we care. As a community, we can help foster success for our kids — and ultimately, for ourselves.

Mentors are community members like you — retirees, CEOs, students, construction workers, parents, academic advisers, even local celebrities. If you’re one who’s saying, “Well, that’s great, but who has the time?” then call us. We will connect you with a mentor who has a busy life like you. It’s only one hour a week. We don’t ask you to give up your vacations, we understand that you may be sick sometimes and that’s all OK. Talk with your company to ask about their policy on employee “flex time,” giving you one hour per week to go to a school to mentor a child. Smaller local companies can thereby give back to the community without spending money.

As stated, mentors meet with their mentees for at least one hour per week at school for one calendar year. National research shows that youths who have a positive role model are more likely to avoid engaging in negative behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse, violence and truancy, allowing them to succeed both personally and academically.

We serve more than 100 mentoring relationships throughout Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, but the need for more mentors is great. Close to another 100 students are waiting to be matched. Will you be one of them?

Click here for more information about the Fighting Back Mentor Program or to become a mentor, or contact Juliana Lee at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Ann Cowell at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), Edgar Diaz at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or 805.963.1433 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The attached pictures are both taken by Carolyn Newstrom.
“Mentor and Mentee Interview” Left to right: KEYT correspondent Paula Lopez, Mentor: Frank Randall, Mentee, Downtown Boys & Girls Club Director: Carolyn Brown
“Phone Bank” front: KEYT correspondent C.J. Ward

— Juliana Lee is a mentor program coordinator for the Fighting Back Mentor Program of the Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >