WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Even in the aftermath of violence and shootings, some want others to know, there’s hope.
“That one to one mentoring is the best for youth period but particularly youth facing adversity which is who we serve,” says Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters Area Director Shelly Chinberg.
Chinberg says the way to help kids is surprisingly simple.
“All these kids need is for someone to show up. And I am a BIG so I would know I mean my little has some pretty dire circumstances, really she just needs someone to show up and mostly just kind of have a good time and listen to them,” says Chinberg.
And the time spent together, she says, can be lifesaving.
“It even showed 46 percent of the kids matched with a big were less likely to use violence,” add Chinberg.
Youth Horizons, a Wichita non-profit, also works to match mentors with at-risk youth.
“Violence and all these things are kind of a cycle and so one of the things we seek to do by having these children matched up with mentors is having a role model,” says Haley Domitrozic.
They try to intervene in a child’s life to help steer them away from crime and gangs.
Domitrozic says their mentors act as a positive influence to point them in the right direction.
“The real basis of it is the relationship, and over time, that week to week commitment and consistency and stability that a lot of these kids do not have.”
There’s at least a dozen programs like these, but getting the word out about what’s available can be tough.
That’s why community activist are working with the Wichita Chief of Police to better organize their efforts to impact more children.
“We just need to get it organized where we can have one locations where you can get all organizations together, contact information so if you know that parent needs somewhere for there kids to go they will be able to check it out really quick,” says Community Advocate Brandon Johnson.
And these programs have a thorough vetting process where the mentor is interviewed and matched with a little who has similar interests that way each matchup is a fit that will benefit the child the most.
Other programs include, Rise Up For Youth, Real Men, Real Heroes and the Boys and Girls Club.