Over coffee and croissants, business leaders learned what is at stake as a mentor for underserved children Tuesday morning at Metropolitan Community College.
For Earl Redrick, he knows what it means to have a mentor and be involved in youth clubs and programs.
"I came from a two-parent household in an impoverished community and can firsthand tell you about the many benefits of mentoring,” Redrick says.
Since then, Redrick has served in the U.S. Army and now works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a field office director in Omaha.
In the spirit of paying it forward, he volunteers for the mentoring program Partnership 4 Kids.
“For me, becoming a professional – having made it out of that environment and become successful and serving my country and in public service – to me – it was just the right thing to do.
Partnership 4 Kids hosted a “Call-to-Action” mentoring breakfast inside the Swanson Conference Center at the community college.
The goal is to get employers to encourage their employees to become mentors, organizers say.
OPPD has nearly 60 employees involved due to President Tim Burke's involvement with the program.
“This is about engaging the leaders in the community – about the needs of mentoring,” Burke says. “We have identified some very specific needs in our community to increase mentors as we kind of expand the need to expand our programs to other schools.”
Deb Denbeck, president of the program, says they need roughly 150 more volunteers for next year.
"The need is great. We're not going to run out of kids,” Denbeck says. “What are we going to run out of is caring adults that can help these young people because that really is the key.”
Partnership 4 Kids say future mentors have the potential to change the future of these children's lives.
“[What] those people need is for somebody to stand with them,” Redrick says. “Show them there is a way out of this if you do your work and make smart decisions.”
To learn more about mentoring opportunities with Partnership 4 Kids, click here.