January is National Mentoring Month, which is a great time to reflect on ourselves, our relationships, and how we can be great role models for children and youth. This month’s Playful Guide takes a look at this recognition month, some resources in our community that work to make Pierce County welcoming for our youngest citizens, and a curated list of picture books that warm our hearts with themes of mentorship!

Did you know?

Mentors can be and are teachers, but there are so many different ways that we can all be mentors to children and youth. To learn more about National Mentoring Month, visit Mentoring.org.

Child and Youth Centered Communities

Looking to support local youth and their families? Child and Youth Centered Communities, or CYC, aims to make Pierce County a great place to grow up! There are many ways that each of us, at any level of the community, can contribute to a more safe and welcoming environment, reduce youth violence, and more. To learn more, visit greentrike.org/child-and-youth-centered.

Know any businesses that are particularly welcoming to children in youth? CYC wants to hear about them! Contact Becca Schrack with the business’s name and details at rschrack@greentrike.org.

Krownless Kings

Krownless Kings is a nonprofit organization with mentorship programming that serves a wide portion of Pierce County. This organization emphasizes the importance of artistic expression to learning, and works to provide the safe space and tools for children, youth, and adults to explore their interests.

Check out our interview with artist and executive director Idris Joyce, where we discuss programming that Krownless Kings held in partnership with Greentrike and the Tacoma Housing Authority at greentrike.org/blog/krownless-kings.

You can also check out their website at KrownlessKings.org.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound connects children and youth ages 6 – 20 and volunteer mentors in order to create and support 1-1 mentoring relationships based on proximity, interests, and personality.

Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, including how to volunteer or enroll a child, at InspireBig.org.

Picture Books for January

When you read a story, consider having discussions with your child about their mentors and role models. What makes a great mentor? How can we be a mentor for others?

Consider checking some of these stories out from your local library!

The Dot

The Dot

by Peter H. Reynolds

This story follows Vashti, who is convinced that she can’t draw. However, with some encouragement from her teacher, she embarks on her own artistic journey of self-expression after creating one little dot on a piece of paper. This story reminds us of the power of inspiration and encouragement.

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers

by Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina Al-Hathloul

Loujain watches her beloved baba attach his feather wings and fly each morning, but her own dreams of flying face a big obstacle: only boys, not girls, are allowed to fly in her country. Eventually, her baba agrees to teach her, and Loujain’s impossible dream becomes reality.

I Am Stuck

I Am Stuck

by Julia Mills

This story introduces us to a turtle stuck on his back, who gets help and suggestions from the other animals on how to get unstuck. Along the way, Turtle struggles with tough emotions and how to get through these feelings to come to a solution.

Holes in the Sky

Holes in the Sky

by Patricia Polacco

Patricia’s family moves to California after her grandmother passes away, and there she meets Stewart and his grandmother, Miss Eula. They take Patricia under their wing, and the three lead their community in helping one of their neighbors during a drought.

Further Reading

Looking for more books? The Tacoma Public Library, Puyallup Library, and Pierce County Libraries all have tons of picture book recommendations, many of which are available to be checked out and enjoyed!