Mentoring makes a difference

Letter to the Editor.

Recently I had the pleasure to accompany eight youth from

the Snoqualmie Valley to the Washington State Prevention Summit in

Yakima: Nikki Canday, Patty McGee, Halley Johnson and Jordan Backman,

from Teens Acting For Tomorrow, and Renee Atkinson, Nick Verbon,

Asley Overman and Hedi Lee, from the Snoqualmie Valley HUB Youth


These youth should be commended for taking an active role in

the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in the Snoqualmie

Valley. It has been my experience in my role as a prevention specialist that so

often adults see youth as a problem and overlook the obvious that youth are a

resource in the prevention of substance abuse and violence. We, as adults,

are naive to think we know what will prevent youth from engaging in

destructive behaviors. Only by creating a vested interest with youth can the

community begin to address these issues. So again, my hat goes off to

these youth and all others who are trying to make a difference by becoming


The focus of this year’s prevention conference was mentoring, which is

a way we adults can also make a difference in the community. While

growing up, a caring man who also was my troop Scoutmaster became a mentor

to me, so I know firsthand what a difference a positive caring

relationship with an adult can make on a youth’s life without having to see all the

scientific studies.

For quite some time a fellow Kiwanian involved in mentoring

had been encouraging me to become a mentor. My standard excuse to her

was that I had too little time. But is eight hours a month too much time to

take from my schedule to make a difference in a youth’s life? Consider

that the average person spends more time than that watching television in

a week. I came to the realization that if I have time to watch “Sports

Line,” then I have time to be a mentor.

I encourage everyone to become a mentor, but especially men. There

is such a need for positive male role models for youth, but many of the

requests remain unfulfilled in the local Friends of Youth’s Snoqualmie

Valley Mentoring Program all because we “just don’t have the time.” It’s not

that we don’t have the time, it’s just we don’t make the time. Make the

time and find out how you can make a difference. Call Casey at

Snoqualmie Valley Mentoring Program, (425) 788-8422. Rather than watching

the lowlights of the Seahawks game, why not save a youth’s life?

Chuck Miller