Mentoring: Giving the gift of guidance

An interesting statistic on mentoring came out of Saturday’s Big Brothers/Big Sisters awards event (see article on page A1.)

In Oregon, there are 22,000 mentors helping 59,000 young people.

That is a nearly three-to-one ratio.

As February is National Mentor Month, it’s a good time to consider ways to bring down that ratio to something more like one-on-one.

Granted, the above numbers are skewed by the fact that one adult can mentor more than one child at a time.

And it is encouraging, on its own, that there are in Oregon 22,000 people who serve as mentors — that’s about the population of Hood River County.

Hood River News will take a closer look at mentoring in our community with next week’s Kaleidoscope.

Mentors come in many forms: math and reading tutors, the volunteers who guide the growing robotics programs, the parents and other adults who spend time in schools serving kids. Then there are formal programs such Big Brothers/Big Sisters and others at Next Door Inc., Hood River Valley’s ASPIRE program, Start Making A Reader Today, foster programs and others.

This edition of the paper features a variety of examples of mentoring relationships: Indian Creek Stewards, Young Life, and New Leaf Gallery, to name a few. In addition, look at the sports page for wrestling, Little League and other sports that depend on paid and volunteer coaches — all mentors.

And who mentored young Jaydon Gabriel, who on his own created a fundraising effort (story, page A1) for a young man with cancer? His educators, his parents, — the beneficiary himself — and others provided him life examples of how to serve others.

The point is that numerous programs exist that anyone can connect themselves with, and help by mentoring children and youth. Or, with the kind of imagination even a 12-year-old can muster, anyone can come up with their own way to give positive guidance to others.

This community is full of mentors, and there is always room for more.


If you know of examples of mentoring that we can mention in the Hood River News, in next week’s Kaleidoscope or farther into the future, contact reporter Esther K. Smith at

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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