By: Jennifer Richardson
EUGENE, Ore. — There are dozens of kids from Lane County living in foster homes.
The young adults are getting great care, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little more positive influences in their lives. That’s where A Family For Every Child’s mentor program comes in. It serves at risk children in need of permanent connections.
Katrina Purdy and Dominique are best buds. Katrina is Dominique’s mentor with A Family For Every Child. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to pairing caring adults with youth in the foster care system.
“I really believe this is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life,” said Purdy.
“It’s helped me because its just time to spend with another person to just have fun,” said Dominique.
Dom has been living with her foster family for five years, and they are offering a loving home to other children, so she says the extra attention from Katrina is awesome.
“We got to play tennis, we’ve gone sailing, we’ve gone swimming disc golfing, we’ve gone to the gym,” Dominique said.
“In general a lot of times these children are just a number in the household, they don’t have an extra voice or friend or someone to reach out to and that’s the most important thing to me.” Purdy said.
Like many nonprofits these days, mentors are needed specifically men.
“It’s really sad to see children really wanting that and I am not able to deliver,” said Mavis Sanchez, Family For Every Child Mentor Program Director.
Sanchez says mentors go through a background check through the FBI and they are constantly going through training
Recent studies show when kids enjoy a regular, positive activity with an adult over the course of a year those kids are 46 percent less likely to begin using drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52 percent less likely to skip school.
“The need is very very high,” Sanchez said.
John Thompson and his wife Renee are another great example of two people making a difference. The couples mentee is 6th grader Dakota Corbin.
“We play tennis, we bike, and we play volleyball games,” John Thompson said.
” I play tennis and soccer,” Dakota Corbin said.
“Just the idea that you can broaden the horizons of a child with different experiences hopefully we can bring to the table,” John and Renee said.
“Our mentors are not paid they are coming in with open hearts,” Sanchez said. “They really want to provide a difference.”
It’s clear by looking at both of the matches from shopping to soccer it’s the little things that make the big difference. The nonprofit says its preparing for its annual winter fundraising dinner and auction. It will be this Thursday at Valley River Inn .