The Empower Sioux Falls Steering Committee has selected mentoring as its first near term focus area of involvement.
Beginning this fall, Empower Sioux Falls will reach out to pastors and church leaders in the city to place an emphasis on the importance of mentoring to members of their congregations. The desire is that members would feel led to enter into some form of mentoring relationship.
Empower Sioux Falls will then work with partnering churches to help match up their members with a mentoring partner, either a student, young adult or even a family.
There are a variety of organizations in Sioux Falls that offer mentoring opportunities, including Lutheran Social Services (LSS), Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire and The Community Outreach.
The need for mentors nationwide is great. According to a 2014 National Gallup Student Survey, 47 percent of US youth said they lack hope, and 36 percent say they are not thriving.
However, having a mentor who is willing to spend as little as one hour per week with a young person sharing life experiences over lunch can have a positive impact. According to Lutheran Social Services, students who have been in a mentoring relationship have demonstrated increased academic performance in the classroom, fewer missed days from school and an increase in self-esteem. Even the mentors have mentioned that they have had a positive impact on their lives as a result of the mentoring experience.
Mentoring is not limited to young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire offers a program called Mentor Moms, where a mother who is at least 25 years of age, mentors a young mother who has a child under the age of 5.
In addition, The Community Outreach offers a program called Genesis, which matches individuals or families with another individual or family to provide support in making tough financial and life decisions. The mentors and mentees meet 12 times over an 18-week period. A professional social worker is also involved in this process, providing assistance to both parties.
Empower Sioux Falls strives to bring local Christian churches together to significantly increase the impact of the Church in bringing hope to those in poverty. We desire to encourage Christians to make an even bigger impact in our community through enhanced education, collaboration and coordination.