Foster-youth mentors can build legacies both great and small

Steve Jobs’ death is a great loss to the technological world. He left a meaningful legacy through Apple, the hugely successful company he founded. However, Jobs’ ability to use his skills to impact the development of technology was not based on his knowledge and talent alone. Jobs benefited from a compassionate individual who helped him see his own value: a mentor.

According to the Hewlett-Packard website, at 12 years old, Steve Jobs thumbed through the phone book for William Hewlett’s number to pick his brain about a school project he was working on. Hewlett spoke with him over the phone, and then chose to cultivate Jobs’ aptitude for creative thinking in technology. Hewlett personally collected the materials Jobs needed for his school project and then later offered him a summer job at Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett became Jobs’ mentor not because it immediately benefited him or because he knew Jobs would go on to found Apple, but because he saw value and potential in a young man. Who knows how the technology world would look today without Hewlett’s mentorship role in Jobs’ life? Steve Jobs’ legacy is partly William Hewlett’s legacy as well.

Every child deserves the same opportunity as Steve Jobs: to have a caring adult pour into their life and value them — and many times, parents fill this role. However, in Kern County, there are around 3,000 foster children and young adults who have no one to believe in them, no one to help them see their potential, and no one to dream with them about who they can be in life.

A local organization, Covenant Community Services, wants you to fill this space in a child’s life by getting involved in the Jeremiah Mentoring Project.

Covenant is a local Christ-centered nonprofit organization with the mission to “provide hope and love to abused and neglected children.” Through the Jeremiah Mentoring Project, Covenant places caring adults in foster children’s lives.

Randy Martin, CEO of Covenant Community Services, is passionate about the organization’s mentorship program, which is one of 10 programs in the company designed to help Kern County’s foster youth establish stable, productive and whole lives.

“What I get excited about is a life transformation and a life change where foster youth actually believe in themselves, and that’s why our motto is ‘Hope lives here.’ We believe in them. We really think that they can be different. They don’t have to be their past, and their past doesn’t have to be their future. Those are the huge things we stand on,” Martin said.

Mentors introduce foster children to new experiences that help them discover who they are. It is also important that they are in the child’s life for a long period of time. They become stable role models who seek to foster the child’s potential and show them that someone truly cares about them with the love of Jesus.

The impact of a mentor on a foster child’s life can’t be measured or quantified. However, the potential impact mentorship could have on the community by helping to break the cycle of abuse in families is limitless.

“Child abuse and neglect is the giant in the land. What it takes is for people to face the giant to defeat him,” Martin said.

Covenant is extending the opportunity to people in Kern County who can commit their time and energy to face this “giant in the land” and combat the cycle of neglect and abuse in our community.

Jeremiah Mentoring is a practical way for you to be involved in ending the cycle of child abuse in our community by making a difference in one child’s life. Choose to leave a lasting legacy like William Hewlett’s by touching the lives of the foster youth at Covenant who are in need of your talents, guidance, life experiences and genuine love.

If you want to be involved with Covenant’s Jeremiah Project, please call 661-829-6999

Stephanie England of Bakersfield, a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is currently working on her teaching credential and a master’s in English.

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