Most of us have benefited from a mentor at some point in life. Parents, teachers and coaches are a few examples. For many students, having a trusted adult to hang out with can make a huge difference.

When it comes to mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters is at the forefront of matching volunteers with students. Recently the organization announced its goal of matching 60 students with 60 mentors by the end of the year.

Mentoring is especially important for high school students. Dr. Jim Welker, superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District, said in a recent Southeast Missourian story that Big Brothers Big Sisters and its volunteers play a key role in keeping students in school.

"When you take into account all that they do, it's easy to support them," Welker said. "We've been working on our graduation rate, and to me it's clear that Big Brothers Big Sisters helps keep children in school and for them to graduate."

On a similar note, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri was recognized Monday by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House in a school improvement contest. The organization's ABC Today! initiative promotes attendance, good behavior and success in reading and math.

Ashley Beggs, executive director of Cape Girardeau Big Brothers Big Sisters, said that while it is important to find mentors for the high school students, the organization welcomes mentors for students ages 5 to 17. Beggs added that individuals can start mentoring while in high school.

If you already are a mentor, we offer our thanks. And if you are not, please consider this opportunity. There are many students who could use your guidance.

To learn more about mentoring, contact Beggs at 339-0184. You can also find more information online at www.bbbsemo.org.