Youth Mentoring Programs

With the kick-off of the 2018-2019 school year just getting under way I thought it would great this month to talk about youth mentoring.

WHAT IS YOUTH MENTORING? Youth mentoring is the process of matching mentors with young people who need or want a caring, responsible adult in their lives. Adult mentors are usually unrelated to the child or teen and work as volunteers through a community-, school-, or church-based social service program.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUTH MENTORING? The goal of youth mentoring programs is to improve the well-being of the child by providing a role model that can support the child academically, socially and/or personally. This goal can be accomplished through school work, communication, and/or activities.

THE BENEFITS OF MENTORING. Mentoring is a proven strategy for positive youth development. Youth are more likely to succeed in life when they have the additional support of a caring, consistent adult mentor. Having a mentor can enhance a young person’s learning skills and help build resiliency and self-control, not to mention boost their self-esteem. Youth with mentors are less likely to engage in risky behavior with drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to develop positive relationships with their peers and other adults, and grow up to become productive members of society.

Help someone realize their potential. We all have unique talents and gifts. Activating the potential in someone by celebrating their talents empowers them to improve their own life, achieve their goals, and help others.

Give back to your community. The most impactful way to improve your community is to spend time investing in it. Mentoring youth in your community is a powerful way to invest in the next generation.

Learn more about yourself. Meaningful relationships are a two-way street. Learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, experience, and beliefs by sharing them with someone else.

Change someone’s life. An intentional relationship has the power to alter a person’s life – particularly youth – for the better. You may be the only stable, positive impact in a youth’s life. The ripple effect is tremendous.

Become a better leader. Investing in the life of someone else challenges your perspective, sharpens your interpersonal skills, and exposes you to different decision-making approaches. Mentoring gives you the opportunity to learn by doing.

If you ask someone about their success, you’re likely to hear about an influential mentor. Whether it’s professional, personal, or spiritual, mentoring is often a catalyst for growth and accomplishment. Regardless of the context, mentors offer steady support, hope, wise guidance, experience, and critical encouragement.

I have been a mentor at Bassette Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia for the last 3 years and I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world! I get to see firsthand what our youth are going through at such a young age. for instance I have worked with youth who were worried about their families financial situation or dealing with a parent who has a drug addiction or fighting cancer, not to mention peer pressure. I started mentoring to make a difference and give back to my community. The greatest satisfaction that I get from mentoring is seeing one of my mentee’s self-esteem shoot through the roof because they were able accomplish one of their goals. I encourage you to get involved, give back to your community and make a difference! Let’s invest in our children and watch them soar…because mentoring does work! I leave you with this quote from actor Denzel Washington.

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living — if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington