Greg Cowan had wanted to be a Big Brother for a long time but decided to wait until his own kids were grown. When the time came, he discovered that Carbon County had no Big Brothers program but many similar programs. In January of 2000, he attended a special training by Utah’s Promise titled “Caring Adult in the Life of Each Child” at the College of Eastern Utah.
The Carbon County Caring Adults Program was created the following month with Greg elected as the chairman. The mission statement being “…to bring caring adults into the lives of all Carbon County youth by assisting other organizations in the development and/or support of mentor/caring adult programs throughout Carbon County.”
The Carbon County Caring Adult Program is now a “results” oriented program with a team of caring adults. Carbon Reads, Youth & Families With Promise, Division of Youth Corrections, Utah Foster Care, Child Care Referral and CASA all come together to work and share information in this program. The CEU Sun Center and the Division of Youth Corrections both contribute meeting space and clerical help for the program. Cowan has made recruiting presentations to several local organizations, educating all who will listen about the benefits of a positive mentoring relationship. Cowan says the main challenge is to recruit more male mentors for the boys in the program who need a male role model in their lives.
Cowan has mentored for the Division of Youth Corrections and found it very rewarding. He feels it has made a positive impact on his life. He says meeting regularly with a mentor will awaken self-esteem, instill values and encourage a purposeful life for youth. He also says statistics show youth who meet regularly with mentors are more trusting of their parents or guardians, less likely to lie and feel more supported and less threatened by their peers.
Carbon County has one of the highest percentages of teen mothers and troubled youth. This program will be a means of solving some of these serious social problems. Bryan Matsuda of the Division of Youth Corrections states “The Carbon County Caring Adult Program ensures that these local volunteer programs work together to pool their knowledge and gives volunteers one phone number to call for a wide variety of programs to serve.”