Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Making Of A Mentor - Bob Glazer's Story

Bob Glazer and I have been friends for several years. Bob is currently VP of Corporate Development for Isis Maternity here in the Boston area. From the beginning of our friendship, I have been impressed with his commitment to mentoring and to his role as a member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers of Mass Bay. On the eve of a big fundraising push and the annual Rodman Ride for Kids, I asked Bob to talk about his development as a mentor.

I share his story despite the fact the Bob recently humilated the old White Rhino on the tennis court, but we must rise above such petty concerns!

"I know that I would not be the person that I am today if it were not for the existence of mentors in my life. Like many boys, especially those who have no older siblings, my earliest mentor was my father. I feel lucky in that I chose to emulate someone who’s principles included respect for others, honesty and integrity. From the first grade, I told everyone that I wanted to be a lawyer like my father; I spent most of high school and college preparing for that course. Ironically, it was the emergence of another mentor, my cousin Scott, that made me rethink my chosen career path. Scott took me under his wing when I was in college and opened my eyes to the world of small businesses, which would ultimately be the direction I would choose for my career. I can also trace the existence of mentors in my early professional career being the difference between exceeding expectations and simply meeting the status quo.

Knowing how my own mentors have helped to shape my character and my decisions, I can only begin to imagine what my life would be like had my early role models included a convicted felon, the local drug dealer or the kid in class who always made everyone laugh, but was never in school long enough to be considered a student. It is becuase of this realization that I have been a Big Brother for almost six years now to a boy named Dion, who is now 13 and in the most impressionable period of his life. He is the only boy in a four-child family with a single mother. His father is incarcerated. When Dion and I first were matched, he had no male role model in his life and was increasingly acting out and making life difficult for this mother. Unfortunately, Dion’s profile is not very different from that of many of the almost 2000 children who are matched by the local
Big Brothers of Mass Bay chapter. It may not seem as if spending a few hours every few weekends could make much of a difference, but my own observations of Dion’s development over the past six years have shown me that a small investment of time can have a huge impact. Beyond my personal anecdotal evidence as to the efficacy of mentoring, there is also a formal longitudinal study that showed that an at-risk youth with a Big Brother/Big Sister is:

52% less likely to skip a day of school
46% less likely to use illegal drugs
70% less likely to use illegal drugs for children of color
27% less likely to use alcohol
33% less likely to engage in violence with peers


More likely to respect adults

For me, the best part of being a mentor is that I know that I have learned as much from Dion as he has from me. I can only hope that our time together will help to reinforce a sense of motivation for him and will engender in him a desire to rise above the relatively moderate expectations that typically exist for someone with his socio-economic profile.

It is in the spirit of helping more children such as Dion to find positive role models that I will be riding in the Rodman Ride for Kids on October 1st as the Captain of the Big Brothers of Mass Bay (BBMB) team. The Rodman ride is a unique event as the sponsors have agreed to cover all of the overhead, meaning that 100% of the money I raise will go back to the agency to help make new and support existing matches. This will be my fifth year riding and I have been able to raise over $10,000 to date - all from individual contributors. If you are interested in making a donation to support this amazing organization, please click on
my personal donation page. Any amount you are able to give is appreciated and will bring me closer to my goal of $4000 for this year’s ride. If you know someone who believes in mentoring and who may be interested in making a donation, please feel free to forward this posting on to them. We are also still recruiting riders who want to Join Our Team for the October 1st ride."

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It has been my privilege in the past to support financially Bob's involvement with The Rodman Ride for Kids, and I intend to so so again this year. I invite you to join me in multiplying the number of kids like Dion who will be matched in the future with other "Bigs" like Bob.

Al

1 comment:

Jeanine Browne said...

Al,

I love you for your brilliance, your wit, but above all, for your inspirational compassion.

Thanks for sharing!


Jeanine