Mentoring is one of the most significant ways that you can impact a young person’s life. And yet, 1 in 3 young people will grow up without having a mentor.

These youth, not matched through a formal mentoring program or informally through a family friend or community member, remain disconnected from critical resources that can help them navigate childhood and adolescence.

No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.
— Dr. James Comer, Child Psychologist, Yale University School of Medicine’s Child Study Center
 

WHAT MAKES A GOOD MENTOR?

Most of us can identify at least one caring adult who made a positive difference in our life. This could have been a teacher, coach, supervisor, spiritual leader, or neighbor. These people served as a role model, an advocate, or a friend. They modeled the basic qualities of a mentor, whether formal or informal, which include:

→ A sincere desire to learn from and share with a young person

→ Respect for young people

→ Active listening skills

→ Empathy

→ Ability to see solutions and opportunities

→ Flexibility

 

BENEFITS

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.