For our third installment of “Why I Mentor,” we hear from Dr. Nancy L. Muecke, CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, who shares why Iowa youth need mentors now more than ever.

Empower youth in your community through mentorship!


A recent Gallup Poll revealed that Americans have experienced the biggest drop in sense of well-being since 2008. Here in Iowa, sense of well-being is at 61.7 points (out of 100). Indicators that determine overall well-being include:

  • significant daily worry;
  • little interest in doing things; and
  • lacking a leader in life that creates enthusiasm for doing things.


For youth in Iowa, decreased sense of well-being translates to poor attendance at school, little or no sense of future, lack of engagement in extra-curricular activities, engaging in risky behaviors, and poor relationships with others.


The need for mentoring is great. Many youth lack the strong relationships they need now in order to help them develop the characteristics necessary for success in school, life, and future relationships. According to the 2016 Search Institute (Minneapolis MN) study, only 28% of young people have a network of strong relationships, and 40% have just one or no relationship(s) that would be considered strong.


Many Iowa youth lack a positive role model and access to activities instrumental in putting them on a path to future success. And many parents lack the resources to connect youth to programs that can give them the support they need. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa (BBBSCI) and 9 other BBBS chapters across Iowa, our solution is to provide youth with one-on-one, professionally supported, long-term mentoring relationships via innovative programming that helps them to discover and achieve their goals. A recent national study found that at-risk youth who had a mentor showed improvement in academics, community involvement, leadership roles, and career development. (National Mentoring Partnership, 2014)


BBBSCI measures outcomes that directly correlate with the problems and challenges faced by our society as a whole. Last year, because of the positive mentoring matches carefully made and regularly supported by BBBSCI:

  • 88% of youth had improved self-confidence;
  • 85% increased their capacity to show trust;
  • 76% improved their decision making skills;
  • 71% had an improved sense of future;
  • 71% had improved relationships with peers;
  • 70% had increased interests and hobbies; and
  • 70% had improved academic performance.

These results were reported by the child, their parent/guardian, and teacher.


The need for mentors exists in all Iowa communities. In Central Iowa, we have a waiting list of over 200 youth hoping for a mentor soon. Time is of the essence for these youth! Join us in helping us to make a BIG difference in the life of an at-risk youth. Contact the nearest Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliate in Clive, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Muscatine, Omaha/Council Bluffs, Sioux City, or Waterloo.


Dr. Nancy L. Muecke

CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa