From the IYB's Facebook page

Ithaca, N.Y. — The research — says Liz Vance, director of the Ithaca Youth Bureau — is not in question.

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Kids who have adult mentors have better school attendance. They have better attitudes toward schools. They are less likely to develop drug and alcohol addictions.

They are more likely to graduate high school and to college. They are less likely to end up in jail. They are more likely to have friends. They are less likely to be depressed. And they are more likely to give back to their communities.

Children who have mentors, in other words, turn out to be exactly the kind of adults society should want them to be, according to Vance.

“I think the biggest reward for our community is by mentoring and supporting our young people we’re really supporting them to live in our community, work in our community, and give back to our community,” Vance says.

From the IYB’s Facebook page

The Ithaca Youth Bureau has recently announced its new “Community Mentoring Challenge” for 2015. The goal, Vance says, is to raise $10,000 for the program and recruit 100 new adult mentors.

Children who go through the IYB’s College Discovery Program, for instance, are now demonstrably more likely to go to college than their ICSD peers, says Linda Cimakasky Barr of the IYB. The kids are chosen at the end of fifth grade and remain in the program through the first year of college.

“We’re looking to close the achievement gap that’s here in Ithaca, and we’re succeeding,” Cimakasky says in an interview.

Mentors only need to be over 18 and to devote a few hours a week to meeting with the child, according to Karen Friedeborn, IYB Youth Development Division Coordinator.

“We always need mentors,” says Joe Gibson, program director of the Ithaca Youth Bureau. “Throughout the years getting mentors especially male mentors is especially challenging.”

Vance, the director, said she wanted in particular to highlight three mentoring programs: Big Brothers, Big Sisters; the College Discovery Program; and the Paul Schreurs Memorial Program.

“Other than the ability to listen deeply, you do not need any special skills to be a mentor who can change the life of a child,” Friedeborn says.

From an email from IYB:

The Ithaca youth Bureau Community Mentor Challenge will take place all year in 2015.

Some upcoming events you can attend include: February 2nd-6th Mentor Development Week is coming up February 2nd-6th at the Youth Bureau. The Youth Bureau is providing a week of educational workshops or volunteers from all local mentoring programs. These workshops are free and open to the public. Go to bbbsithaca.org to find out more.

To register, please contact Joe Gibson 273-8364 or via email jgibson@cityofithaca.org. February 12th, 5-7 pm A fundraiser featuring a wine-tasting happy hour at the new farm to bistro restaurant, Coltivare at 235 S. Cayuga St. This event will feature music by Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton, hor d’oevres , and a complimentary glass of wine from Sheldrake Point Winery. Tickets cost $20 on- line and $25 at the door. Go to FriendsIYB.org to buy advance tickets. 

Feb 28th & Mar 1st Bowl for Kids Sake, Feb 28th & Mar 1st, is the signature fundrasing event for the Youth Bureau’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Program (BBBS) . This is an opportunity to have fun bowling and meet Bigs and Littles all while raising money for the program. Go to bbbsithaca.org to find out more.

To find out more about how you can become a mentor, donate or participate in the Ithaca Youth Bureau Community Mentor Challenge activities, go to ithacamentors.org or call (607) 273-8364.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.