In a mentoring relationship we try to keep the partnership of parent/guardian and mentor on level ground with both parent and mentor being equal in both caring about the child. Thus it is often important for the mentor to be sensitive to not giving the image of buying the child's love and playing Santa Claus and making the parent who is often on meager budgets, feel like the bad guy since their income does not often allow attending special events in their budgets. When the community (individual, corporate, foundation, service clubs, whoever donates) donates free tickets both to the matches and the parents and siblings it keeps the relationship free of intimidation of the mentor looking "better" than the parent. No barriers are formed due to the special events the mentor takes the child out to. The community is recognizing the work that mentors do each time they get together with the child and they say thank you by way of the free tickets. The community i s also saying to the families "We understand things are difficult, we don't judge, we are behind you in trying to do all you can in raising your family. We want to help make some things just a bit easier this way." Allowing the parent/guardian to maintain their dignity is a wonderful thing.
Also like you mentioned in your web site -- giving the opportunity to attend special events like this helps to establish positive childhood memories and it gives them hope to help replace some of the not so great memories that may come with living in poverty.
Thanks for putting together such a program, Robb. It is so great especially for some of the smaller programs.
Kinship of Greater Minnesota