The Urban Child Institute reports that 39 percent of all children in Shelby County are growing up in poverty which is officially defined by an income level of $24,250 for a family of four. Over 40 percent of these same children live in households that earn $10,000 or less per year.
Poverty is the single greatest threat to a child's well-being. Children in poverty experience worse health outcomes, face significant obstacles to learning and are less likely to graduate from high school than their more economically advantaged counterparts.
Recent studies show that upward mobility is largely determined by the networks of relationships a young person can leverage for advancement. It's often true however that children in under-served communities do not have access to these networks.
Mentoring offers a chance to break this insularity and begin a mutually enriching relationship that can help reshape the future for so many young people in Memphis.