Perseverance. Character. Hope. Those three words have been adopted by MentorKids Kentucky to describe their mission in the community.
For 26 years, MentorKids Kentucky has been dedicated to matching youth from single-parent and non-traditional homes, right here in Daviess County, with Christian adults who might be looking to make a difference with their time and resources. Their hope is that through these loving relationships with caring adults, mentees may learn to persevere through adversity, grow to maturity in character, and find hope for their future.
Recently, the team at MentorKids Kentucky came up with a gameplan to fill one of their biggest needs. Through conversations with current mentors and mentees, a social media movement titled LIVE685 was borne to raise awareness for their mentorship program.
Each week in 2019, new videos will be posted across popular social media platforms that highlight the stories of individuals from the community who have been impacted by mentoring at some point in their life. These short testimonials are part of a concerted effort to show other community leaders how to get involved if they want to follow suit.
Executive Director Berly Tillman Sullivan feels that LIVE685 can promote goodwill in the community and transform lives in the process. She says that there are many youths waiting to be matched to a mentor right now, something she views as largely untapped potential for community advancement in Daviess County.
“Our goal for the LIVE685 program is to flip our wait list,” Sullivan said. “Instead of having a list of youths who are waiting for a mentor, we want to inspire people to LIVE685, and end up with a list of mentors waiting to be matched to a youth.”
According to MentorKids Kentucky Programming & Recruitment Coordinator Zach Lake, the name LIVE685 came about through the strong spiritual focus of the organization. Lake said that the heart of the movement they are hoping to inspire stems from Psalm 68:5, a scripture verse that talks about the responsibility of Christians to defend widows and father the fatherless.
“Our mission with all that we do is to come alongside the fatherless by bringing them the hope of Jesus,” Lake said. “The great majority of our mentees are without a dad and God calls us to fill that role by standing in the gap. LIVE685 is about fulfilling the call God gives us and challenging local businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals to do the same. The challenge through LIVE685 for our community is to live out Psalm 68:5.”
City-Data reports that there are currently over 7,000 single-parent homes in Daviess County.
In seeking to fulfill the mission to help parents and grandparents in the raising up of their children, MentorKids Kentucky and their volunteers reported having put in over $100,000 in volunteer service hours in 2018. At roughly $20/hour that equates to 5,000 hours of mentoring that happened over the last calendar year.
If you or someone you know would be a good fit for MentorKids KY, there are four ways Lake says you can do so.
“First, following our social media campaign to learn more about LIVE685 would be a great step,” Lake said. “The second step would be supporting the mission of MentorKids KY financially through giving. A third way you can get involved is through prayer, which is a major value of the organization. Finally, jumping in and applying to be a mentor is probably the biggest way you can support us.”
Program Director Maria Shyver says that it is not uncommon for some individuals to be a little nervous about serving the community in this unique way. Shyver is convinced, however, that getting involved with MentorKids Kentucky isn’t about a specific job or title, but instead a willingness to stand in the gaps for at-risk and in-need children right here in Owensboro.
“We have mentors aged from 20 to 65 matched with our youth,” Shyver said. “Professions represented include construction workers, pastors, teachers, bankers, mothers, attorneys, marketing directors and many more. What we are looking for isn’t an age or a profession, it’s a willingness to shine a light to a child in need.”
To apply to be a mentor, simply visit mentorkidsky.org and print off an application. Applications can be turned in to the MentorKids KY building at 2815 Veach Road during business hours.