Empowering Youth through Community

by
by Robyn Brinkerhoff, FCNI Mentor Program Coordinator
January, 22, 2020 -

“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.” 

Why am I so passionate about mentoring? 

For the past several years, I have worked as a volunteer coordinator. I love this role for a multitude of reasons, one being that I myself have been lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive and “real talk” mentor in my life for the past 20 years! What she has taught me, and continues to teach me, is that “consistency in showing up” creates self-worth. When I have doubted myself and my life choices, she has been a constant cheerleader, reminding me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, and her support and positivity is contagious! The second reason is that, I get to interact with the most amazing people! People who are so willing and gracious with their time, and who truly believe we as a community have the power to help one another. And lastly, that it takes just one encouraging and caring person to change the course of someone's life, and I get to be a part of the process of connecting mentors with their mentees!  

As the community coordinator for Family Care Networks' Mentor Program, I have the honor of seeing the direct impact our community member's time and effort makes in the lives of our youth and their families. Whether it is through academic tutoring, building a positive relationship through mentoring, or growing and utilizing our community partnerships, our Mentor Program has the ability to shape and pave positive paths for our young community members. 

I especially enjoy growing our Community Partnerships, as these unique opportunities help keep our youth engaged and connected to the environment they are growing up in. A wonderful example of a business providing this kind of critical partnership is The Pad Climbing Gym in San Luis Obispo. Recently, the operators of The Pad reached out to us to offer our mentors and mentees free annual memberships to their gym. It is their hope that by offering our mentors and mentees the opportunity to climb together, they can help them build strong, healthy relationships while offering them a fun new experience. Opportunities like this are vital to helping us provide essential relationship tools for our volunteers. They are taking on a big task--helping a youth dealing with the impact of trauma heal and grow--and by offering them opportunities such as climbing gyms or other special community experiences, we can help our mentors and mentees build mutual trust and self-confidence, and help them bond over shared experiences. The impact these community partnerships can have is wonderfully far reaching and extensive if you really think about it.  

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could make a difference in a young person's life”? If so, let me offer you some insight--you absolutely can! And, not only can you make a positive impact on one person’s life, you can be a part of a ripple effect that will help empower generations to come. I know this to be true because my personal experience with mentoring is what has inspired me to see and support other mentoring relationships every day through my position in the Family Care Network’s Mentoring Program, which will hopefully work to inspire others to follow my lead. That’s a ripple effect in full swing! 

If you or someone you know is interested in giving back to their community, we would love to help you get involved! Whether it’s volunteering at one of our events, supporting a local youth through mentoring or tutoring, or partnering with us through your local business, we can help you be a part of something bigger in our community. 

Just make the commitment today to just get involved in our community, whatever this involvement may look life for you. You won’t regret it because it is absolutely worth it!

“To make a difference is someone’s world, you don’t have to be amazing, rich, talented, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to be you and care.” - anonymous 

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To take the first step in becoming a mentor, call Robyn at 805-781-3535 or email rbrinkerhoff@fcni.org, and ask about our current mentoring opportunities.