Mayor Brent Ives declared Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the regular meeting of the City Council that the city fully supports the efforts of Sow a Seed Community Foundation, an organization designed to match Tracy children 11 to 18 years old with adult mentors.
Rhodesia Ransom, executive director of Sow a Seed, said in an interview Monday, Jan. 6, that she believed it was the first time the city was participating in National Mentoring Month.
“We are excited to bring it to Tracy in an effort to recruit more mentors and raise awareness of the importance and benefits of mentoring,” she said.
Ransom said mentors fill an important gap for children.
“There’s a lot of evidence and research that shows that young people who are mentored are five times more likely to graduate from high school,” Ransom said. “Four times to go on further to college. It also shows they are less likely to experiment with drugs. Teen pregnancy rates among young people who have been mentored are lower.”
She added that finding mentors in Tracy requires Sow a Seed to adopt different strategies than are used in other communities.
“We’ve been very strategic finding models that work for the Tracy community,” Ransom said. “With the commuters and everything, it’s really hard to get people to commit to one on one 100 percent of the time. So we’re only asking our mentors to mentor for four hours per month.”
The remaining need for children is filled with group mentoring.
Sow a Seed program coordinator Carolyn Blunt, who accepted the proclamation from Ives on Tuesday, said the program had recruited 17 new mentors within the first week of the year, well on their way to the goal of finding a mentor a day for January. She said the goal of all mentoring is easy to understand.
“Serving the Tracy community is really important,” Blunt said. “We want them to be able to move on forward to be productive citizens. We want them to continue to be leaders here in the community and serve.”
That preparation, according to Blunt, takes adult mentors who can not only impart personal wisdom, but also help kids develop communication skills and give them someone to ask if a subject is too awkward to bring up with their parents.
“We want to make sure they have the proper tools, the proper resources, and we want to make sure they are successful in their goals,” Blunt said.
She added that mentors must be someone the parents and children trust. That quality, Blunt said, is easily found in the local community.
“Tracy is a good place to live,” she said. “It takes the whole city to be a part of this. To mentor. To help. To keep it safe.”
People interested in finding more information about volunteering as a mentor for Sow a Seed Community Foundation can call 229-4559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at email@example.com or 830-4231.