KENNEWICK, Wash.- January is National Mentor month and NBC Right now is teaming up with the Ignite Youth Mentoring Program to showcase community members making a difference in the lives of kids in the Tri-Cities.
There's a special bond between Pastor and Hanford engineer, Rich Sexton and 11-year-old Julio Sandoval that just comes naturally.
"I think I'm learning patience and to work at communication at his level. He's pretty soft spoken and pretty quiet most of the time. So, I've just learned to take things at his pace," said Sexton.
Julio and Rich have been buddies for a little over a year thanks to the non-profit faith based mentorship program, Ignite.
"I think young people need to understand that they have hope for a future because they have hope, then they make good decisions. That's what I'm trying to encourage with Julio is to make good decisions and you'll have a bright future," said Sexton.
The Ignite program provides mentors like Rich, a fun atmosphere to inspire these youngsters through activities like horseback riding, skiing, even an Americans hockey game.
Rich said he uses the time to teach Julio how life can be a big challenge, but it's the everyday decisions that count in the game of life.
"Over that time, my hope is to make a positive impression on him and set a role model for him. I hope to be a friend to him and his family for as long as I live," said Sexton.
Ignite partners with schools, youth and family agencies, counselors and churches, but the program is always looking for mentors and youngsters between the age of 8 and 16 to join in their mission -- to ignite hope -- one kid at a time.
Click here to get involved with Ignite Youth Mentoring.