MIAMI – January is National Mentoring Month, but when it comes to volunteering to help others, recent studies show that Florida ranks lowest in the nation in volunteerism and southeast Florida even lower than the state average.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami is working to raise awareness about the value of mentoring a young person in need.
For the first nine years of his life, 15-year-old Cedrick never had a solid male role model; an absence, he said, that directly affected his attitude and behavior.
“I would say I’d get in a lot of trouble in elementary school. I used to get referrals for fighting to the point where they said they would arrest me or kick me out of school,” he said.
Cedrick got what he calls his “second chance” in 2015 when he joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami program and was paired with Ronald Washington.
“I felt it would give me a chance to not only give back but also receive in return, like learn from the future generation of kids, like Cedrick. He keeps me young,” Washington said.
Gale Nelson, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, said having a positive role model in a child’s formative years provides an unquestionable and measurable benefit.