GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-One Mesa County non-profit organization is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year.
In 1977, Mesa County Partners started mentoring youth in our area, close to 1,5000 kids have been through this program, according to officials.
January is recognized as National Mentoring Month.
In recognition of this and their 40th anniversary, Mesa County Partners is raising awareness about the need for more adult volunteers to mentor our youth.
For a non-profit organization, reaching 40 years of business is no easy feat.
"I think it gives a lot of tribute to the previous directors that ran Partners, and the great business model they developed," says Jill Derrieux, Executive Director of Finance and Business Development for Mesa County Partners.
That business model, in part, has adults mentoring youth in our area, and being a positive influence.
"Senior partners agree to spend three hours a week with a child for a period of one year," says Derrieux.
Officials say they have to statistics to show there's proof that mentoring works.
"So we show statistically significant improvements in bonding to an adult, improvement in school, less likelihood to use drugs and alcohol," adds Derrieux.
Currently, officials say there have about 120 active partnerships, but not every kid receives a mentor.
"Many of the kids in our program are on our waiting list. So we currently have 100 kids on our waiting list that are waiting for an adult volunteer," says Derrieux.
With so many kids on the waiting list, Mesa County Partners is in need of mentors.
And officials say, being a mentor is much easier than people realize.
"People say they're busy. You don't even have to carve out any extra time, just take that child with you throughout your daily life and show them some of the things you do that made you successful," says Derrieux.
Mesa County Partners will have activities around town throughout the year celebrating their 40th anniversary, with a big celebration happening in October.
If you're interested in becoming a mentor, you can visit www.mesapartners.org or call 970-245-5555.