, Salem, MA

January 15, 2014

Letter: Mentors make a difference

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Life can be tough for many young people in our community. Some of our neighboring youth are growing up with trials like poverty, family instability, or mental and physical health complications. These struggles impact their ability to achieve their full potential development and success in school, sports, music and other childhood activities.

I have been a mentor with Children’s Friends and Family Services for three years. I wasn’t sure what kind of difference I could make, but as it turns out, sometimes all a young person needs is an extra layer of kindness to help them grow.

My mentee and I do lots of different things to stay busy. Sometimes, we just take a walk and grab ice cream; other times, we get tickets to the Celtics or other big events in Boston from the Children’s Friend program. Something that surprised me about being a mentor was how much my mentee could take away from all the new opportunities this program has provided her and how she integrates the new skills and experiences into her daily life. I’ve seen her grow so much; she is such a grateful, kind, special young woman.

Youth Mentoring at Children’s Friends and Family Services is a one-to-one program that matches a caring, responsible adult over the age of 21 with an at-risk youth between the ages of 7 and 18. Matches meet for no less than two hours per week and attend monthly program-wide events. We are seeking more mentors who have the availability of time and talents to share with the young people we serve. Consider giving it a chance.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please call the director of youth mentoring, Samantha Alves, at 978 219 1528 or visit our website,

Judy Bernandez