At a recent meeting of the Unmet Legal Needs of Children Committee of the Knoxville Bar Association, Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin asked us to spread the word about a pilot program he started pairing kids who need role models with adults interested in mentoring them. He’s particularly interested in children who appear before him on relatively minor matters like truancy. Judge Irwin believes the underlying cause behind many of these kids’ issues is the lack of a caring adult in their lives. When these kids realize they matter to someone, their lives start to turn around.
There is a six-month waiting list for Big Brothers/Big Sisters so Judge Irwin decided to start his own similar program. To date, not one child who has been assigned a mentor has been back to Judge Irwin’s court for any new problems. That is an amazing result. The problem is the number of kids who need mentors far exceeds the number of willing mentors. That is where you can help. By simply caring about a child, you can directly impact a young person’s life in a positive way before their minor problems become major ones. Some young person out there desperately needs you.
Prospective mentors will meet with Judge Irwin and he will personally pair them with a child. He asks that mentors set a target of interacting with the child four hours a month. This can take many forms: meeting up for a bite to eat, going to a movie, a quick telephone call to check in and see how things are going, etc. All these kids need is something so simple as someone who gives a damn about how they’re doing.
If you are interested in learning more, please e-mail Judge Irwin’s assistant, Barbara, at barbara dot miller at knoxcounty dot org and she’ll take it from there.
Please help spread the word by clicking the “Share” button below to post this on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and encourage others to do the same. It’ll take you five seconds and it might just make a world of difference to a child.