Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018
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SATURDAY ESSAY

Give mentorship

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As has been seen in the news, a “zero tolerance policy” for immigrants illegally crossing the border led to increased family separation followed by a nationwide protest. President Donald Trump then signed an executive order to place a short-term stopgap on the family separation crisis. Both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to craft legislation which would pass Congress, but to no avail. Absent a miracle, it is unlikely that immigration reform will happen anytime soon.

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Activists march past the White House to protest the Trump administration's approach to illegal border crossings and separation of children from immigrant parents in June.

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The divide on this issue between Americans is as far as it is wide. The bitter partisan divide in Congress bemoaned by the American citizenry is merely a reflection of the philosophical divisions within our culture today. There is no silver bullet to resolve this divide, but common ground outside of the realm of policy will eventually lead to common ground in the realm of policy. Politics flows downstream of culture.

Too often we look to our government to serve as the only answer to society’s most pressing questions. Yet, the government should never be the exclusive vehicle for an expression of our compassion and concern. While the government will always be responsible for border security, the U.S. citizenry has immense potential to make a long-term impact on the issue at hand.

Having founded an organization which has worked with thousands of fatherless youth in Guatemala, I have witnessed the devastating effects that the family breakdown creates on children. Entire communities in Guatemala are plagued with poverty, violence, and abuse. They are like war zones. Families who value the lives of their children decide that a glimmer of hope in America is better than the wretched condition of their current state. And so they leave…in mass.

The long-term answer to the immigration crisis lies in the flourishing of the sending nations of Central America and Mexico. Flourishing in these nations can be summarized by the level of confidence among families that rising generations can have access to the same inalienable rights which define America of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

From my experience, the fatherhood rate is the one variable more influential in society than any other in securing these rights. Should these nations experience a reversal in their rates of fatherless homes, they will experience increased economic prosperity and strengthened communities, and the flow of immigrants will slow.

Herein lies the common ground, both sides can agree that would-be immigrants turned into non-immigrants due to their domestic flourishing is a net positive. Acting on this assumption, anything that can be done to advance fatherhood, will have a positive effect. But how can any single individual impact this in any tangible way? Surprisingly, in my experience, one person can turn the tide of future generations through two words: Give mentorship.

An individual willing to give mentorship with their time can change the story of a child from despair to hope. An individual willing to give mentorship with their charity can advance the cause of mentorship-based organizations both domestic and international. An individual willing to give mentorship through social media advocacy is a catalyst for bringing people of diverse perspectives together.

America can rally around mentorship. Mentorship is borderless, apolitical, and unifying. Through the Champions In Action nonprofit, I have met hundreds of Americans who have volunteered for one week to support the mentors of fatherless youth in Guatemala, who then returned to invest into children in their home communities. Similar to the ripple effect in a pond, every investment of time, money, and advocacy into mentorship, delivers transformational returns years into the future.

As we celebrate our 242nd birthday as a nation, rather than focusing on that which divides us, let us look to something that can unite us. Give mentorship.

Jonathan Jakubowski is the director of SmartSolve Industries, an environmentally friendly paper supplier based in Bowling Green.

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