Take a moment to reflect on your educational or career journey. Did you have an inspirational teacher? Or maybe you had a co-worker or a manager who took you under his or her wing and showed you the ropes?
If you were lucky enough to have someone who helped you along the way, then you know firsthand the value of mentoring.
January is National Mentoring Month. I’d like to encourage the Envision community of adults and students to get involved and look for mentoring/mentee opportunities.
The Value of a Mentor
A mentor is an experienced friend or confidant who is there to provide guidance and support in any number of ways and situations, including academically. Many of the world’s most successful business and world leaders credit mentors as key contributors to their success.
According to the National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR), studies have proven the positive impact that mentoring has on students. This includes greater self-esteem and social-emotional development benefits – all critical for making the most of academic and career goals.
“Children need positive relationships with caring adults,” according to a study on the benefits of mentoring conducted by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. “Parents generally fill this central need, but many children benefit from relationships with other adults . . . Therefore, the mentoring of youth by adults is one of the more promising program approaches intended to promote positive youth outcomes.”
Doing Your Part as a Mentor
By becoming a mentor, you are doing your part to ensure that today’s students have the tools and support they need to succeed. Here are some ways you can help young people as a mentor:
- Improve social skills: Make students better leaders by enabling them to relate to different kinds of people. Help them develop strong communication skills so they can handle any situation.
- Bolster self-esteem: A mentor is someone who is always in a student’s corner. Be a champion. Believe in a young person. Recognize and celebrate his or her successes.
- Provide career exploration: Many mentors act as career counselors, helping students to brainstorm career possibilities, define career goals and establish action plans to reach professional goals. You can also be a great source of networking opportunities for students.
- Support academic activities: Depending on the circumstance, you can serve as an important academic tutor during the school year.
- Be a friend: Some students, especially the older ones, find it difficult to talk to their parents or friends about what’s on their mind. As a mentor, You can serve as a trusted confidante, helping a student work through day-to-day struggles.
There are many reasons to become a mentor (see 10 Reasons to Become a Mentor infographic). It’s a meaningful way to give back to your community. It’s the kind of giving that can have a lasting impact on a young person’s life.
Want to go the extra mile as a mentor? Help sponsor your student to attend a life changing Envision program for careers or leadership development.