‘Spare’ Some Time to Help Local Young People Through Youth Connection

| December 28, 2018

KNOX, Pa. (EYT) – Youth Connection is inviting the community to help support the mentoring of youth through their annual Bowl-A-Palooza event on Saturday, January 26.

It will be held at Mt. Joy Lanes located at 216 High Point Road in Knox.

To kick off this year’s event, one of Youth Connection’s matches, Jazmine and mentor Kelly (pictured above), will bowl the first frame.

Jazmine and Kelly have been matched for over four years and have developed a friendship that will last a lifetime. They share numerous interests such as baking, attending plays and musicals, playing board games, and bowling. They have also enjoyed attending community events and the Renaissance Festival.

Jazmine and Kelly’s story is just one example of the impact that Youth Connection mentors have on the lives of local youth.

The annual event serves as the major fundraiser for the Youth Connection program. All of the money raised from the event will stay in the area to help maintain current child-mentor matches and build new ones.

Youth Connection has a goal of filling all of the lanes at the event, thus raising $10,000.00.

This event offers a great opportunity to get together with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for a few hours of fun while raising money to help kids in the local community.

Youth Connection, formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Oil Region, is an organization that operates under the umbrella of the Family Service & Children’s Aid Society (FSCAS), and is also supported by The United Way of Clarion County.

It works in partnership with The Mentoring Partnership of Southwest PA to serve young people in Clarion, Forest, Venango, and eastern Crawford Counties.

The mentoring program is designed to help youth realize and reach their full potential and goals through the guidance of a professionally supported mentor relationship. Through its community-based, one-to-one mentoring program, youth who are facing adversity are carefully matched with mentors who can offer guidance and support. Mentors form relationships with young people in the program and encourage their self-confidence, good behavior, and academic performance.

As part of their standard support and coaching of each mentoring match, Youth Connection works with mentors to evaluate the needs of each child in an effort to ensure a positive youth development framework.

“Mentoring is a win-win situation for the local youth, the community, and the mentors,” explained Program Director Jessica Walters.

“When matched with a mentor, youth are more likely to avoid risky behaviors such as drugs and alcohol, make more responsible decisions, attend school more regularly, achieve higher grades, and have a better relationship with their parent/guardian and peers. Youth are also more likely to volunteer within the community they live, become mentors for other children/youth, and youth and mentors are more likely to participate in community events in which they live.”

“Mentoring relationships are (opportunities) to make a lasting connection with a youth allowing them to feel heard, understood, and valued. Many of our mentors report they benefit just as much as their youth by feeling as though they are making a difference in a youth’s life.”

According to Walters, the Youth Connection program can only survive with the support of the community.

“We truly rely on the kindness and generosity of our many volunteers and sponsors,” Walters said.

“We are very grateful for the continued partnerships we have established throughout the community and are always pursuing to create more.”

Bowl times for the Bowl-A-Palooza event are 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

To register a four to six person team, make a donation, become a sponsor, or to learn more about the program contact Youth Connection at 814-676-9940 ext. 28 or email jwalters@fscas.org.

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