Youth Villages helps young people RUN to their dreams

Posted by Eric Bleier on July 20, 2012

Youth Villages is a mentoring partner of the Grizzlies Foundation

Jarrett is an avid runner, having completed the 2011 St. Jude Half Marathon with a time of 1:48:27, but he may have never developed a passion for running without the help of his Youth Villages mentors, James and Mary. Jarrett was first introduced to running as hobby by participating in the runners club at Youth Villages’ Bartlett Campus. James and Mary, volunteers with the runners club, saw talent in the teen and became his mentors through the Youth Villages mentoring program.

James and Mary ran alongside Jarrett both on the track and through his treatment process at Youth Villages. They often picked him up before school to run with him and took him on fun outings, such as going out to dinner and to movies. They also encouraged him to pursue his goals, such as joining his schools cross country team and participating in his first half marathon. With the help of his caring mentors, Jarrett is now working toward living as a successful adult and will attend the University of Memphis in the fall.

Youth Villages has 135 mentors like James and Mary who are instrumental in helping children develop their interests and set goals. Mentors spend four to six hours per month for six months with their mentees, participating in activities they both enjoy, such as visiting local attractions, developing shared interests and volunteering together.

Youth Villages provides an array of services to help mentors successfully relate to their mentees. Mentors complete an initial training session and are interviewed to help match them with a child with whom they share common interests. Mentor liaisons are available to provide full-time support to mentors, and Youth Villages offers quarterly training sessions for mentors on specific issues that their mentees may be facing. Recent training sessions have covered topics such as bullying, effective communication with mentees, and a question and answer panel with Youth Villages staff. Youth Villages also occasionally schedules group activities for mentors and mentees, including picnics, movies and game nights.

As a result of successful mentoring relationships, children are less likely to drop out of school or experience trouble with the law and learn to build good relationships with their families and those around them.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor with Youth Villages, fill out our interest form.

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The Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation is committed to serving Memphis youth through education and mentoring.