The Calaveras Youth Mentoring Program is ten years old.
I’m a fan. For more than two years I was also a volunteer with the program. So I’m sure I’m biased.
But here’s my rationalization for my bias: It is one of the few efforts that I am absolutely sure does good.
As a reporter, I see all kinds of well-intentioned efforts to address one ill or another. Most simply treat symptoms, or create new problems. Many of our regulations and laws are like that. They’re the best we can do to restrain bad behavior and encourage human well-being. But they often don’t directly support well-being. And they clearly fail to restrain bad behavior.
The one-on-one relationship of an adult mentor with a young person is something very different. It is human scale. It directly provides what humans need — which is connection, witness, companionship. It may not solve the big problems of economic collapse, wars and so on. But it makes life more meaningful, more vivid for both the young person and the mentor. And caring for each other, making our lives meaningful, is especially important in an era in which the big problems appear to be going unsolved.
Kathryn Eustis and Colleen Dolan, the people who run the Calaveras Youth Mentoring program, will be speaking to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors about the program’s 10th anniversary about 9 a.m. Tuesday or shortly thereafter. I plan to be there to cheer them on. If you are interested in learning about the Mentoring Program, call them at (209) 736-6078.