Mentor program could curb crime

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 07/01 2014 11:35PM

Updated 07/02 2014 11:49AM

DANVILLE –- Leaders believe the key to curbing crime is investing in kids, but Big Brothers, Big Sisters has a problem: too many kids and not enough adults. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon has the story.

Jane McFadden says you can find the time. She’s a commander and has 20-years with Danville police, all while mentoring twin sisters Tambrisha and Lanisha through Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

"It wasn't tough to mentor them. They weren't troubled kids," said McFadden.

Now both young women are in college and, after almost 15 years, they still keep in touch. She says they just needed someone to be there for them.

"Get these kids interested in things and want to do better in life and want to make this place a better place to live," she said.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters executive director Rose Henton says hundred of kids could benefit the same way, but without enough mentors, they have a waiting list, but there could be many more.

“We don't want to have kids that are on our wait list for years and years and years, so we have to limit it to a certain amount. There are a lot of children out there who need a mentor and want a mentor," said Henton.

Some kids come from single-parent homes, some have trouble in school. Others, like Jade Taylor, are shy. She gains confidence from her mentor, Jackie.

"Knowing there's someone right there. I've got a lot of people, friends, family and stuff, but I don't really get to see most of my family,” said Taylor.

Big Brother, Big Sisters believes kids who are mentored get a boost in confidence, get better grades, and have fewer behavioral problems.   

McFadden has seen those benefits firsthand and says the time she gave was all worth it.

"If you're not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem. So if you don't do something and get outside yourself and volunteer or do something to better your community, then you're just complicit in the problem," she said.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters says it's working on recruiting mentors, especially men. All it takes is one hour per week.

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