The mission statement of the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services Department is “WE ARE LEADERS OF CHANGE EMPOWERING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES.” I do not think it is only our mission statement but can be our community’s statement as well.

Being involved in the HHS Mentor and the Outdoor programs has been a rewarding experience for me as the coordinator. I am amazed at our adults that volunteer for our programs. We do have the power to make a change; maybe a small one, but we can get involved in a young person’s life.

Both the volunteers and the youth involved in the Mentor and Outdoor programs indicate that they get satisfaction from the relationships and exposure to new experiences. Some of our volunteers go unnoticed but they quietly go about their participation in a youth’s life. These volunteers are helping make our community healthy by modeling and providing encouragement to the youth they work with.

An interesting statistic is that youth who are involved as a beneficiary of volunteer programs are 78% more likely to be a volunteer themselves. You do not have to be involved in a formal volunteer program. Informal connections with a young person are just as important. Some youth need some extra consistency and extra positivity in their life; you can be that for them.

Be that positive support for a young person in our community: Make an investment in our future. For more information on how you can become a mentor for a youth in your community, contact Tim Villanueva at 760-873-5040.