SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — Sioux Falls city leaders and local nonprofits are putting out a call to the community.

There is a growing need for mentors to help local children.

Whether you volunteer through Lutheran Social Services or the Teammates program… a little time can go a long way.

“I want to challenge our community because again, you’re either doing something to help your community or you’re doing nothing,” said Police Chief John Thum.

Close to 600 children in Sioux Falls are waiting for mentors.

“Our numbers of kids waiting are higher than they were before COVID. So this tells us that kids are really starting to feel the impact and the effects long term of what the pandemic did and that they’re really in a position now to reach out for help and get the help if it’s offered,” said Michelle Madsen, Senior Director of Community Services at Lutheran Social Services.

This is why local nonprofits and city leaders are asking for your help.

“The need is quite great. So really the goal today is just to say this, you know, if the community has time, has capacity and has a desire to serve the city of Sioux Falls, the best way you can do it is through mentoring someone,” said Mayor Paul Tenhaken.

These mentor positions are volunteer-based. The goal is to provide students with a supportive adult to enhance their strengths, provide motivation and encourage kids to succeed.

“The key is that you’re going to make a commitment because students are going to look forward to you showing up each week. It’s not something that you should take lightly or say, I’m just going to try this and see how it goes,” said Brianna Venekamp, Executive Director at Teammates.

There are also programs that center on mentoring adults.