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Jill Michal

By Jill Michal

President’s Newsletter: This Year, Let’s All Step Up to the Plate

Thu, January 31, 2013

This Year, Let's All Step Up to the Plate

As 2013 begins, I am sure some of us are hoping to stick to the resolutions made when the clock struck midnight on January 1. There are the usual goals to get in better shape, pursue a new hobby or take measures to better manage stress - just a few of the more popular resolutions made each year, according to www.usa.gov. But also on the list is another goal I hope we all achieve this year – volunteer to help others. Before National Mentoring Month comes to a close, I ask you to think about whether you can commit to making an impact in the life of a child who needs a positive adult influence.

There’s no greater reward than knowing that your time – an hour, a day, a week or a year – can create positive change in the life of another person. It may sound like a cliché, but you really are capable of making a difference. Take, for instance, the story of Tyler, the young child of a single, working mom. Tyler’s mom longed for Tyler to have access to a positive male role model and pushed for him to participate in a mentoring program run by a Camden-based United Way partner agency. Tyler was eventually paired with John, who fully embraced his role as Tyler’s mentor, taking the young boy on trips to the water park and aquarium and tutoring Tyler, helping him improve his grades and attitude toward school.

While John’s commitment proved to benefit Tyler in many ways, he had no idea his past experience as a college baseball player would be yet another skill he could use to help Tyler succeed beyond his wildest imagination. For a while, Tyler struggled with hitting and catching despite practicing hours on end. Eventually, his morale and confidence dropped, something Tyler’s mother shared with John. In no time, John stepped up to the plate, literally, taking Tyler out to batting cages and giving his mentee pointers on everything from batting to hitting to running bases. By the time Tyler’s big game rolled around, his confidence soared and, like a fairytale ending, Tyler’s performance in the game was stellar and he even made the game-winning play.

John had no idea that baseball, something he loved doing, would one day put him in a position to help a young person truly knock it out of the park! And if you take some time to share your skills, talents or passion, you, too, can help a young person be extraordinary. The most important things you need are the desire to listen, and offer guidance, support and encouragement. So, this year, resolve to create change and make a lasting impact on the life of someone in need.