When you were young did you know how to study for a test or make plans for college? Do you remember wanting your first car or looking for a part-time job? Simple things that may seem easy or straight-forward to you now may be a complete mystery to a young person.
1 in 3 young people will grow up without having a mentor – either through a formal mentoring program or informally through a family friend or community member – leaving them disconnected from a critical resource to help with these very things.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD MENTOR
Before becoming a mentor, here are a few things to understand about the role of mentoring. Most of us have had a teacher, supervisor or coach who has been a mentor to us and made a positive difference in our lives. Those people wore many hats, acting as delegators, role models, cheerleaders, policy enforcers, advocates, and friends. Mentors assume these different roles during the course of a relationship, and share some basic qualities:
- A sincere desire to be involved with a young person
- Respect for young people
- Active listening skills
- Ability to see solutions and opportunities
Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Many mentors say that the rewards they gain are as substantial as those for their mentees, and that mentoring has enabled them to:
- Have fun
- Achieve personal growth and learn more about themselves
- Improve their self-esteem and feel they are making a difference
- Gain a better understanding of other cultures and develop a greater appreciation for diversity
- Feel more productive and have a better attitude at work
- Enhance their relationships with their own children
Above all, a good mentor is willing to take the time to get to know their mentee, to learn new things that are important to the young person, and even to be changed by their relationship.
SO – ARE YOU READY?
Find a mentoring opportunity today! Using the Mentoring Connector, the only national database of mentoring programs, you can search for a variety of programs in your community and connect with them directly about volunteering. By submitting this online form, you’ll be redirected to mentoring.org, the website of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.