I never really thought Batman did all that good a job of fighting crime. Really, he’s mostly just responding to it after it happens. Must be why Gotham City is still overrun with super villains. There is a far better way to fight crime (and poverty, racism, teen pregnancy, low academic achievement, etc.). It’s incredibly effective … and actually kind of fun.
Every person who reads this post needs to become a mentor for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Then you all need to get other people to sign up. Many chapters have a huge need for guys, in particular, which is odd considering that boys are much more likely to drop out of school or end up in jail.
If those kids have mentors, they’ll be way better off. Any mentoring is good, but Big Brothers/Big Sisters works particularly well: A 1993 study by Public/Private Ventures showed that kids in the program were 46% less likely to begin using illegal, 27% less likely to start using alcohol, 52% less likely to skip school and 33% less likely to hit someone. I checked out the study myself, and it seemed reliable. For 18 months, the group followed 959 at-risk boys and girls from across the country, assigning about half of them to waiting lists to serve as a control group. The study was paid for by the Lilly Endowment, the Commonwealth Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts and an anonymous donor.
My experience in the program suggests that the study is right. My little's grades and behavior have improved a lot over the past year. I can't take full credit, as he just entered a more intensive program at school, but I will take some! The only catch is you’re required to have fun together for four hours a month. We went to the batting cages a week ago, but we don’t always do something that costs money. Once I even took him with me to run a bunch of errands!
I’m hoping this post gets 10 people to sign up. Imagine the ripple effect, especially if they each get two other people to join them. And maybe we all each work with five kids over the course of the next 15 years. That’s 150 children whose lives could be altered forever. Then those kids will be positive influences on their friends at school and their siblings. And when they’re older we’ll tell them they should become mentors, too. Pretty soon we’ve got a whole new city!