By Tiffany Williams –
Nationally, one in four public school children drop out before they finish high school. For African-American and Hispanic students, the challenge is more severe with the likelihood of graduating on time from high school only 65%. Many of these students don’t have access to positive role models, cannot envision a career, and don’t feel connected to their communities. It is tragic that young people who drop out are much more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or live in poverty.
There are 46 million young people, aged 8-18, living in America. 16 million of them are growing up without a mentor. That’s one out of every three young people who, outside of their family at home, don’t have a trusted adult who they believe they can turn to for advice and guidance. Of those young people, 9 million face a variety of day-to-day challenges that put them at-risk for falling off track.
Mentoring creates meaningful connections that can positively impact the lives of both mentor and mentee.
In early October the Worcester Red Sox Foundation launched its second year of the “WooSox Mentors” program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts and Worcester Public Schools.
The program consists of Worcester Red Sox front office members who are mentors for students of various grades at Gates Lane Elementary School. These staff, the Worcester Red Sox said, “Typically visit the school each week, and join third, fourth, and fifth graders for lunch, conversations, and play..
“We’re all excited to begin our second year of mentoring at Gates Lane Elementary School right here in Worcester,” said Joe Bradlee, the WooSox’ vice president of community and player relations. “Mentoring is a cause that’s near and dear to so many of us, and we’re grateful for our partnership with Worcester’s School Department and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts.”
Mentoring for the Worcester Red Sox is not something new. The WooSox said ” Mentoring dates back to a seminal moment, hours before the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Champions received their World Series Rings on Opening Day, 2005. That morning, Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner and club executive Dr. Charles Steinberg met with late Celtics legend Bill Russell. The club had invited the NBA Hall of Famer to throw a Ceremonial First Pitch alongside the Bruins’ Bobby Orr and the Patriots’ Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi, but before agreeing to participate, Russell asked to meet representatives of the club’s new ownership. At the breakfast meeting at a Boston hotel, Werner and Steinberg learned that mentoring was Russell’s area of focus. The trio mapped out a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Mass Mentoring, giving birth to the Red Sox Mentorship Challenge. Until his recent passing July 31, Russell served as its honorary campaign chairman.”
The Worcester Red Sox also said in a statement, “When Red Sox Hall of Famer Larry Lucchino (president & CEO of the Red Sox from 2002 to 2015) took over the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2015, he and Steinberg created a partnership with MENTOR Rhode Island. Later, when the PawSox moved to Worcester, Bradlee forged the partnership in Worcester with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”