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 straightforward 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.
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.
January is National Mentoring Month, providing us with opportunities to thank the mentors in our own lives, to look for ways to share our knowledge with those who can benefit and to support both JACF and other local mentoring programs. To celebrate the critical role that mentoring programs play in our community, consider becoming a mentor — in as little as two to four hours per month, you can change a child’s life and enrich your own.