Approximately 2 million children in the United States have a parent who is in prison, and with the national incarceration rate increasing 6 percent each year, Lutheran Episcopal Services Director of Mentoring Tonja Murphy understands importance of a mentor.
"If you look in a classroom, one child in that classroom has a parent that is incarcerated, Murphy says. There's definitely a need (for mentors)."
Murphy, 37, oversees the Episcopal Services' Mentoring Children for Tomorrow program and pairs youth who have an incarcerated parent work with positive role models. In honor of National Mentoring Month, Murphy is encouraging adults to volunteer their time and skills to improve the future of area youths.
She says that often, a young person just needs someone to listen to them. A recent Pew research study found that children who have active mentors are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs and 53 percent less likely to skip school.
"It's important because all adults have some kind of experience and knowledge that they can offer a younger person, and I think they should do it. I think they should mentor", Murphy says.
Murphy earned a bachelor's degree in social and behavioral sciences from Jackson State University. She lives in Jackson with her husband, Gregory, and three children.
If you would like to become a mentor, visit the National Mentoring Month website or call Murphy at 601- 352- 7125.
Great article and great choice for person of the day! Tonja has been an advocate for the Jackson community for a long time and it's good to see her being recognized for what she does. Keep up the good work!!!