Ken Martinet, a long time La Cañada resident and director of Catholic Big Brothers and Sisters for the past 17 years, was the guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada at a recent weekly luncheon meeting held at Descanso Gardens Van de Kamp Hall.
“Kids would be much better off if there was more mentoring as good things happen for both the kids and the mentors … like Catholic Big Brothers and Sisters,” noted Martinet. The organization works with boys and girls from ages 7 to 15 and some children stay on until 18. “Some of our kids are so bonded with their mentors that the relationships formed becomes life-long.”
The Big Brothers organization has been active for over 100 years and the Los Angeles branch, which Martinet heads, was established 87 years ago. It is non-profit and serves children of all denominations and ethnic backgrounds with 70% currently Hispanic, 20% African American, and 5% Caucasian. With an estimated 50% drop out rate in L.A. public schools, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization, through its mentoring program, serves these children.
Martinet pointed out that, considering recent history involving abused children, his organization has been free of any such accusations.
“The child’s safety is very important and we check mentors out very carefully,” he said. “Our social workers are well trained in background checking and we utilize the services of the FBI and the Department of Motor Vehicles in aiding our vetting process. In addition, every applicant is carefully checked through references.”
Catholic Big Brothers and Sisters serving Los Angeles can be reached at (213) 251-9800. Their website is www.cbbbs.org.
Contributed by Al RESTIVO