My Experience of the Benefits of Youth Mentoring, By William Barzee

When I saw how my sister Mary positively influenced the life of her “Little Sister,” I decided to become involved in a similar capacity through the mentoring program at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. This organization matches caring adults with youths who express interest in an adult mentor. These professionally supported mentoring relationships assist children in realizing their potential.

Long-term national studies have shown that young people involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters benefit tremendously from the program. Children in the program are nearly 50% less likely to start taking illegal drugs, and their probability of early alcohol abuse declines by 27%. Taking part in Big Brothers Big Sisters reduces children’s likelihood of skipping class by more than half, increases their confidence in their schoolwork, and helps them cultivate skills for better family relationships.

In my own experience, I was able to provide my two Little Brothers with the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and meet the President. Having spent more than six years in Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have expanded my mentoring connections with other youth in the community. Aside from weekend trips to Disney World, my Little Brothers and I have taken off to the Florida Keys for fishing trips, or spent time camping in the Everglades.

In addition to broadening life experiences for my Little Brothers, the mentoring experience has helped me to grow as a person. Mentoring has become an extremely rewarding part of my life. For more information about mentoring, as well as giving opportunities, visit www.wementor.org/

About the Author:

William Barzee specializes in criminal defense at the law firm Barzee Flores in Miami. Mr. Barzee earned his J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law. In addition to his volunteer service at Big Brothers Big Sisters, William Barzee donates to the Anti-Defamation League, the Miami-Dade Drug Court, and the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation.

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About William Barzee

Miami native William Barzee has lived, attended school, and worked in the south Florida city his entire life. Attending Coral Gables Senior High School as a teenager, he later enrolled at the University of Miami, also in Coral Gables. During his undergraduate years, he joined various student organizations. He served as a Student Representative to the University’s Board of Trustees and spent time as the President of the student government. William Barzee’s scholastic aptitude earned him memberships in the Iron Arrow Society, the Appeals Committee, and the Honor Council. Finishing his degree at Florida International University in Miami, William Barzee earned a Bachelor of Arts and became a member of a Phi-Lambda national honors fraternity. Returning to the University of Miami at its School of Law to earn his legal degree, he supplemented his studies with a variety of services. Contributing to a national mock trial team, William Barzee also participated as a Finals Review Student Lecturer and Honor Council Student Advocate. He wrote for the University of Miami Law Review and won an American Jurisprudence Book Award before graduating cum laude. Accepting his first career position with the Law Offices of the Public Defender for Miami-Dade County, William Barzee spent over three years as a Special Assistant Public Defender and close to five years as an Assistant Federal Public Defender. After a year and a half as a solo practitioner in Miami, he cofounded his criminal law practice Barzee Flores. Located at the Courthouse Center, 40 N.W. 3rd Street Penthouse 1 in Miami, Barzee Flores has represented clients in federal and state cases since 2008. For more information on Mr. Barzee and the law firm, please visit www.barzeeflores.com.
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