By Libby Hopkins

Six years ago, Stacia Hepburn was called to help children in need, orphaned, abused and neglected. Hepburn started I Matter Too, an organization that mentors and tutors children through the love of Jesus Christ.

“Every day, we hear the stories of  children who have been severely abused and see the struggles they go through living in foster care without permanent families,” Hepburn said, “Child abuse is an awful part of our society. However, we know the hope that comes through God and he can take any situation and turn it into something good.”

Last year, more than six million children were involved in abuse reports. An abused child is 30 percent more likely to commit a violent crime. One out of two abused children will drop out of high school.

Hepburn’s organization strives to help change these statistics by getting more people involved with her organization by becoming a mentor. The qualities that Hepburn looks for in a mentor are that they must be a solid believer in Christ whose “walk” reflects their mentoring “talk.”

“Our mentors must provide encouragement for a student’s entire well-being, not just academically, but socially, emotionally and spiritually,” Hepburn said.

The student meets one-on-one with their mentor weekly to provide a role model to discuss specific topics relevant to their student’s personal environment and social relationships. They can also participate in recreational activities together. The mentor can facilitate the student’s participation in peer groups such as church youth groups. A mentor can also provide tutoring with one targeted academic goal for their student.

There are no specific educational requirements to be a mentor, just a heart for children and a willingness to make a time commitment to a student who is in the program.

To become a mentor, visit

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.