YMCA looking for Big Brothers, Sisters for mentor program

Bailey Brendel ® Staff Writer |
Photo by Kjerstin Hall ® Staff Photographer |

Looking to become more active in your community? Want to help youth in your community grow and help lead them toward the right paths? Do you want to find your own personal skill set, and use your skills to help others? Well, Mankato Family YMCA Brother/Sister Program wants you to volunteer for them.

This program is a community-based mentorship that brings mentors in to guide youth along their life experiences. 

Matches are recruited and screened, then commit to a nine-month service where they meet with the kid they mentor once a week for one to two hours. 

While there, the mentors talk to their youth and share with them their own personal experiences and advice to help guide them towards the right path. This helps their mentees gain self-confidence, learn leadership and communication skills, and opens them up to become more active members of their community. It also helps the mentors learn more about themselves and their community, as well as teaching them about their own individual experiences and wisdom that they can share to the world. 

When senior drugs and alcohol major, Maria Graff was asked about her experiences with the program she said,  “It’s a special feeling to be a role model for these kids. I enjoy coming up the driveway and seeing my mentee smiling and anxiously waiting at the window.”

Mentors become role models and get to watch the kids grow as individuals over the course of the nine months they work together. 

Everyone brings unique skills and experiences to the table that can be useful to help support a child. 

“We are really in need of mentors at this time and are excited to talk to anyone interested,” said Tom Schueneman, the Mankato YMCA’s director of social responsibility. 

The YMCA is currently looking for new volunteers to become mentors. According to Graff, “There are so many kids on the waitlist, and it crushes my heart.” 

Anyone interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister can apply at mankatoymca.org/brothersister.mentoring/ or contact Allison Braswell at abraswell@mankatoymca.org. 

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