Mayor’s Column: Shaping Our Future Through Mentoring

“A wise person plants a tree for shade in which they will never sit in.” Greek Proverb

Sioux Falls is a community full of opportunities and an incredible quality of life that many of us have come to love. Many of us are also blessed to have family and friends who help us feel valued, loved, and supported. You can likely think of someone who was influential in your life journey and helped make you into the person you are today.

Unfortunately, there are many in the Sioux Falls area in need of a support network and someone to walk along their side for guidance and hope: someone willing to invest time in them, to show them they matter, and to guide them on a path to future success.

On January 27, a full house attended the launch of the Sioux 52 initiative. A collaboration between the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, the Helpline Center, Lawrence & Schiller, and the City of Sioux Falls. Sioux 52 is an initiative to recruit 5,200 new mentors in the Sioux Falls area by 2026. Our community already has incredible programs through organizations such as Lutheran Social Services, YoungLife, Collision, Teammates, The Community Outreach, and many more. Sioux Falls is blessed to have many great mentorship programs. What we need now are members of our community to step up and help fill the mentor gap that many of these programs experience.

Mentoring requires a variety of forms and the needs are many. It could be a child or teenager with a difficult home life, an ex-felon reintegrating to life after prison, a new American family, or a young employee or entrepreneur. Your time commitment to just one person would be life-changing for them, and I have no doubt it would enrich your life as well.

Statistical studies by the National Mentoring Partnership show that mentored youth are 20 percent more likely to enroll in college, 21 percent more likely to volunteer in their community, and 30 percent more likely to participate in extracurricular activities at school than their nonmentored counterparts. Similar data exists to show how mentorship reduces juvenile crimes, reduces recidivism, and lowers chances of addiction.

None of us can help everyone in our city, but each of us can help one person. By doing so for just one hour a week, collectively we will make a significant and long-lasting impact in Sioux Falls that will help shape the future of our community. Each of us has room in our life for at least one more relationship. Please consider making your next relationship a mentorship.

To sign up as a mentor or business partner, go to Sioux52.org or simply call 2-1-1.

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