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Groups work to provide more mentors for at-risk L.A. youth

January 6, 2010 |  8:40 am

Los Angeles-area nonprofit groups are announcing a new initiative today aimed at boosting the number of mentors available to work with at-risk youth.

Children Uniting Nations, a nonprofit that works with foster and at-risk youth in L.A., is the lead agency for the initiative, said Juliette Harris, a spokeswoman for the organization.

Children Uniting Nations has recruited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. and the Inland Empire, Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement, Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters and Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters to help reach people of various faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds, Harris said.

The effect of long-term mentoring can be crucial to children and teens who might not have any guidance at home, Harris said.

“We have hundreds and thousands of kids in this country that have nobody," she said. "By having that one adult that can keep them on the right track and keep them in school or from using drugs, it’s just so key for Los Angeles right now.”

Children Uniting Nations was created to bring attention to the plight of at-risk and foster youth. The goal is to reach as many children in out-of-home care by offering role-model support, guidance, a sense of community and to promote the importance of an education.

To get more information on how to become a mentor, visit www.childrenunitingnations.org.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy