Would you have an answer if someone asked the question, “who is your mentor?” As National Mentoring month draws to a close, I would like to reflect on the great strides the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation made in 2013 and the theme we have in place to reach greater heights in 2014.
For most of us, it is fairly easy to list a few people who have influenced our lives. It could be a parent, teacher, Boys & Girls club staff member or even a past or present political figure. Whomever it may be, their example has shaped our thinking about how we live our lives.
In my eyes, a mentor is someone who helps us reach goals that we may have never thought were attainable by using their past experiences as teachable moments. In 2013 the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation implemented mentoring programs that impacted thousands of youth across the country. This number is something that we at the Foundation are certainly proud of, but at the same time we realize that it could not be possible without the enduring support of our partner organizations in each of these communities. Whether you are a program coordinator for a community based organization or a deputy in the local Sheriff’s department or a community development manager for an Attorney General’s office, you all were mentors. You helped the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation reach its goals and help youth find meaning in their everyday lives.
Although the program staff here at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is excited about what was accomplished in 2013, we know together we can do more. We want to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. We want to take what each of us see as common and make it uncommon. Building on the four key principles (celebrate the individual, explain the why, keep it simple and have fun!) of the Ripken Foundation, we want our partners to become uncommon by aiming above the mark, growing your team, asking why, and finally, committing and following through. Each child growing up is dependent upon mentors in their lives to help them with direction and a means to be successful, so commit to being that person who consistently guides them in a positive manner.
In closing, thank you to all of our great partners who helped us impact thousands of youth across the country. We are certainly proud of what we have accomplished together, but we look forward to continuing to help kids become uncommon people.