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Mentors Needed in South Dakota

Several South Dakota mentoring services are looking for volunteers. (iStockphoto)
Several South Dakota mentoring services are looking for volunteers. (iStockphoto)
January 18, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Today, the nation is focused on the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service.

And with January being National Mentoring Month, some mentoring services in South Dakota say they are in need of help.

Groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters say they still have about 50 children in need of mentors in the state.

Meanwhile, in Sioux Falls, Lutheran Social Services is looking to get 75 new mentors signed up for its mentoring program this month.

Michelle Madsen, director of mentoring services at Lutheran Social Services, says about 300 children are waiting to get paired up with a mentor. But she also says the need is statewide.

"One in three at-risk adolescents will reach adulthood without a mentor of any kind,” she points out. “I'm sure that echoes across the state of South Dakota."

According to the National Mentoring Project, young adults who were at risk of not graduating or falling into criminal behavior end up having a much higher success in going to college if they have a mentor.

Madsen says there are plenty of other tangible benefits when adults spend at least an hour a week with young people.

For students, this can include improved grades at school, better attitudes towards peers and more self-confidence.

But Madsen says mentoring is a two-way street, and it can often times be good for the older person involved as well.

"I feel it makes people better community members, a better parent if they have children, and just more aware of the whole picture of what's going on in their community," she stresses.

For more information on how to help with mentoring in South Dakota, you can go to

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - SD