12 Most Life-Changing Aspects of Mentoring
Being a mentor is like making an investment in another person’s life that has sure returns. The emotional, practical and wide-ranging endowments of mentoring create a lasting legacy.
And the best part is that mentoring doesn’t just bestow gifts upon the novice, but also on the older, wiser leader.
1. What it stops
Research shows that programs offering young people formal one-to-one mentoring relationships reduce teen delinquency, substance use and academic failure. The National Mentoring Partnership has links to many studies.
2. What it stops, part II
Productive, effective mentoring programs can lessen bullying.
3. What it starts
Youth mentoring programs lead to a range of positive outcomes in the students’ lives, including improved self-esteem, social skills and awareness of career and training opportunities.
4. It can be targeted to very specific groups
Children, whose parents have been incarcerated, face much higher risks than other kids for feelings of shame, abandonment, depression and anger and other detrimental psychological and physical impacts. The children of prisoners are also significantly more likely to become entangled with the criminal justice system than their peers.
While they’re still relatively new and small, a few mentoring programs have been created to serve this vulnerable target population.
Other programs are aimed at immigrants or teen mothers, for example.
5. It increases trust
The bond that forms between a young person and a mentor becomes a conduit for knowledge and guidance. But it also, even more importantly, offers a living, breathing example of trust. A caring adult is modeling, for the student, what trust is and does — and what it isn’t and doesn’t do.
6. It improves relationships
Close connection to a mentor can lead to an improvement in a young person’s relationships with others, including their own parents. That’s a priceless payback.
7. It creates positive feelings for mentors
Mentors overwhelmingly report positive outcomes from the experience. And most, in surveys, report that they would recommend that others mentor.
8. It improves mentors’ skills with communication and empowering
Data has shown that, through mentoring, adults gained skills, too. How cool is that!
9. It leads to higher self-efficacy
Both mentors and youth in successful one-on-one programs indicate the experience and relationship has created or deepened the sense that they can be productive and effective and can achieve more, as a result of the mentoring.
10. It can work in many places
Mentoring can occur in a wide range of quality, structured activities out of school time, such as in libraries, rec centers or even skateboard parks.
11. It helps young people become civically engaged
Opportunities for students and caring adults to work together through community activities can make life-long impressions about the value of civic engagement. Young people learn they can get involved with the school board, city council or an issue that affects their community, guided by grownups who demonstrate the value of being connected and active in the community.
12. It makes a profound, permanent impact
Effective, productive mentor programs change and improve lives. For good.
I teach and mentor senior high students at my church. They teach me as much as I teach them.
What about you? I’d love to hear about your experience with mentoring or being mentored.
Featured image courtesy of tanakawho licensed via Creative Commons.