Mentoring Argentine Neighborhood Youth
Many studies demonstrate the importance of caring adults in the lives of young people. When children overcome challenges and show resilience, usually they have caring adults who take an active interest in their lives. (Garmezy, 1985; Rutter, 1987; Werner & Smith, 1992; Masten & Garmezy, 1985). Caring adults have an especially protective effect on at-risk youth (Jessor, 1993) and caring adults are fundamental to student learning (Hansen, Walker, & Flom, 1995). When parents and older adults are absent from the lives of young people for long periods, it results in adult silence about boundaries and values. This adult silence along with age segregation are known impediments to the healthy development of young people (Benson, 1996).
As an inner city of the Kansas City metro area, we have the unfortunate distinction of being located in an area that has over 1400 homeless kids. Reaching out to the young people has been our most important contribution to our neighborhood. Today we have three ministries that cover all ages.