FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Linda Thompson, Seedling Phone: 512-323-6371, ext. 107 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
40 AUSTIN CHILDREN WAITING TO BE MATCHED WITH ADULT MENTORS
Sharing One Lunchtime Per Week With a Child Can Create a Lifetime of Positive Effects
AUSTIN, TEXAS, January 28, 2018—Just 30 minutes a week spending time with a child on a school campus can make a significant difference in the direction that child’s life goes – especially if that child has a parent who has been incarcerated or deported.
Seedling, an Austin non-profit organization whose mission is to support children challenged by parental incarceration with innovative, research-driven, school-based mentoring, is seeking 40 adult mentors to share one lunchtime per week with a child at Austin, Del Valle and Kyle schools during the school year.
“To have an adult invest time on a consistent basis for a child whose parent is away makes a difference in their outlook on life and on school,” said Dan Leal, Seedling Executive Director.
During one lunch per week, mentors spend 30 minutes talking, playing games, doing homework and being a friend. Seedling provides an orientation and regular guidance, making the small amount of actual time given each week grow into a lifetime of positive effects.
“Seedling’s program is unique for its foundation, simplicity, and impact,” said Connie Howe, Director of Programs. “As mentors spend one lunch a week with their mentees throughout the school year, they become witness to the remarkable impact having a supportive mentor creates for youth dealing with parental incarceration. What’s more, mentors often find building friendships with our youth just as beneficial and rewarding. It’s a great way to connect with our community and lay the groundwork for a future generation of compassionate, involved and self-possessed Austinites.”
Across Central Texas, an estimated 8,000 children live with the shame and stigma that often comes with being challenged by parental incarceration. When a child loses a parent to incarceration, they lose possibly the most significant person in their life. As a result they face significant risk factors that can make it difficult to succeed in school. Seedling believes in the promise of every child: the promise of an education, the promise of a future, and the promise of all they can contribute to society.
Mentoring can provide the caring, consistent presence of an adult friend that research has shown to be a major protective factor in building resilience among at-risk youth. Mentors have been the reason that a child decides to go to school instead of getting into trouble. They’ve been the reason children have taken an interest in music, art, or sports. Most importantly, they provide compassion and companionship to children who are often in high-risk situations.
Since 2006, Seedling Mentor Program has served over 2,000 students on 150+ campuses in 11 districts and 16 charter schools in Austin and Central Texas. Many of Seedling’s mentors continue visiting with the same child for multiple school years – even up to graduation – because they find the experience so rewarding.
“Mentoring has added a distinct level of empathy to my daily routine,” said David Moore, a Seedling Mentor. “That one visit a week, disrupts my rushed lifestyle and forces me to slow down and contemplate what it means to be part of the Austin community. My mentee’s drive, kindness, and sense of right and wrong have also reminded me that the insight of children, should never be taken for granted and may be one of life’s greatest gifts.”
Time is running out on matching students for this school year. Seedling is urging caring adults who can commit to one lunch per week during the school year, to act now and make a difference in a child’s life.
To apply, please go to this website today: https://seedlingmentors.org/mentor-application/
To hear directly from mentors, watch our video at: https://vimeo.com/2713475
Seedling is a non-profit organization, serving the Austin area by providing children of incarcerated or deported parents with a long-term, positive relationship of a caring adult mentor, who helps them navigate the challenges experienced during an extended period of family separation and develop or maintain positive attitudes towards education. Seedling recruits volunteers from the community, matches them with eligible children, and offers ongoing support to both children and mentors. Since 2006, Seedling Mentor Program has served over 2,000 students on 150+ campuses in 11 districts and 16 charter schools in Austin and Central Texas.