Mentors Needed for At-Risk Children - 8 News NOW

Mentors Needed for At-Risk Children

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LAS VEGAS - January is National Mentoring Month, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada is urging people to celebrate by volunteering to mentor at-risk kids.

At Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers can give back in a number of ways - even if they are busy with work and life.

The organization partners with local elementary schools and brings volunteers on campus once a week to meet with children.

Big Brother Nick Kaptain and his Little Brother Shawn know the value of the relationship.

Mills is being raised by his grandparents. They say he needed someone to look up to. Along came Kaptain. A friend introduced him to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and he has been involved ever since.

The mentoring program requires four to six hours of quality time per month, but Nick and Shawn spend more time than that. They say they enjoy going out to eat and to the movies. While it may seem like fun and games, some real-life lessons are being learned.

"Every single time, when I finish my homework, we play kickball or stuff, and he kicks really high," Shawn said. "It's really high that I can catch it, and he's like, 'Nice job.'"

"He's actually doing a lot better," Nick said. "I've seen him grow up a lot over the last few years. He's doing a lot better in school overall, staying out of trouble."

Kaptain says he will continue to be a part of Shawn's life for as long as he is capable of doing it. He encourages everyone to become a mentor for an at-risk child in our community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters ask mentors to make an 18-month commitment and devote approximately four to six hours a month mentoring a child.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada CEO Molly Latham says at-risk kids need consistency and role models who will help them stay motivated and out of trouble.

"Mentoring can help the life of a child. They're more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to not use alcohol or drugs," she said. "If putting a mentor in their life can do that for a child, then it uplifts the community across the valley."

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada website.

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