Stress can weaker our immune systems, leading to many health concerns, a weakened immune system, greater susceptibility to anxiety and depression, heart disease and tension-related disorders like tension headaches.
How Can We Combat the Negative Effects of Stress by Helping Others?
One way to reduce your own stress levels is to develop your own resilience by taking a proactive stance against stress and helping others in the process.Reach out to at risk children in our community via mentoring before kids join a gang, commit crimes or end up with substance abuse problems. Being a mentor gives you the chance to strengthen your own knowledge by teaching another, develop support networks working with other volunteers, improve your leadership skills, and feel good about helping another person!
Some of Working Well Massage client companies encourage their employees to volunteer at Charter schools and with at risk children. But you don’t need your company to start a mentoring effort to enjoy the benefits of mentoring yourself! Chicago’s Mercy Home is one organization that already has a mentoring program in place for Chicago adults to work with Chicago at risk youth. Check out some of the success stories of past Mercy Home Kids, including the story of a young man who went on to become a Chicago Police Officer himself!
It is Easy to Sign Up to Volunteer to Mentor a Child
From the Mercy Home website ‘s Mentor a Child page: Mercy Home’s Friends First mentoring program matches adults, one-on-one, with at-risk kids from all over Chicago. You’ll have an impact on a child simply by going on fun outings to parks, zoos, museums and more. And you and your mentee will have opportunities to attend group events with other mentors too.
Our staff works hard to set up the most compatible matches, and provides mentors with training, support and encouragement to help foster a meaningful mentoring friendship. Mentors come from all adult age groups and all walks of life, but are united by their desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.
To ensure successful, impactful matches, Friends First staff offers support above and beyond what is provided in typical mentoring programs. This includes providing access to a licensed psychologist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our staff is on a first-name basis with every mentor and child and considers all of our families and volunteers to be part of the Mercy Home community.
If you are a child in need or to refer a child, please call toll-free 1-877-24-START. To make a donation, please call toll-free 1-877-MERCY-55. For all other inquiries, please call 1-312-738-7560
Mercy Home Needs Adult Male Volunteers!
About 5 girls are on the mentoring Wait List at any one time, but as many as 75 boys may wait to be matched with a mentor.
One of the challenges that the Friends First mentoring program faces is that it works best when female mentors are paired with girls, and male mentors are paired with boys. Currently, most of those who volunteer to become mentors are women. Mercy Home needs more men to step up and guide a child.
Mercy Homes Opportunities for Community-Based Mentoring
From the Mercy Home Website FAQs: Some children are in need of a caring friend to help, but may not have issues that rise to the level of seriousness that they require placement in a residential setting like Mercy Home. Appropriately, while they participate in the Friends First mentoring program, they live at home with their own families. They may come from economically-struggling single-parent households or from neighborhoods with limited recreational and learning opportunities.
Mentors help children like these gain self-confidence and direction, and resist negative peer pressure. They give of their time and take these young people to places like ball games, museums, parks and more. They expand young people’s horizons through shared activities. Many of these young people may never have had ventured outside of their own neighborhood prior to their involvement with Friends First. They benefit just by experiencing new things, seeing new parts of the city, and having a friend to lend an ear and lead by example.
- 91 matches (match meaning one mentor and one youth) were supported last year in the Friends First program.
- Youth in Friends First are between 9-17 years old.
The common thread that connects children to Mercy Home is that they have experienced trauma and that they are committed to changing their lives.