Youth Mentoring Can Change the World
If you’re yearning to transform the world into a better place and are intent on being pro-active about it, you don’t need to look any further than participating in a local youth mentoring program. These essential programs are designed to support the healthy development of children and teens from all walks of life by supplying them with a caring mentor who is committed to guiding and supporting them. These programs can introduce youth to worlds which otherwise would have remained inaccessible to them while simultaneously teaching them how to respond confidently to life’s challenges.
There are three elements which characterize a mentor / mentee relationship. First, the mentor will possess more experience and wisdom than the mentee. Second, their guidance makes possible the development of the mentee. Third, the mentor and mentee share an emotional bond distinguished by a sense of mutual trust. Trust is a very important element in this relationship because the mentor who becomes friends with the mentee will be more successful than the one who attempts to change the youth. It is not uncommon for this relationship to blossom into a lifelong friendship. Even when this does not occur, many mentees remember their mentors for the rest of their lives and credit them with changing their life for the better.
These unique programs come in all shapes and sizes. For example, one may be designed to heal children who have experienced trauma in their life by teaching them how to care for horses while another will train inner-city kids how to tell their stories to the world through the magic of film production. Traditionally, one child is paired with one adult while a group program sees one adult guiding up to four adolescents. There is also team mentoring where several adults work with small groups of youth. Although the idea of mentoring usually evokes the image of an adult guiding youth, peer mentoring is when thoughtful kids guide other kids. It seems that modern technology has left no stone unturned as it has allowed mentees to pair with mentors who otherwise would have been out of reach. This is known as E-mentoring and it functions through the use of email and the internet.
Every adolescent can benefit from a productive relationship with a compassionate adult but it has been shown that those facing certain challenges find mentoring to be particularly useful. These challenges include medical issues, physical or psychological disabilities, foster care transitions, pregnancy, problems with the law, and academic problems. A common result among the majority of programs is that the children emerge with increased self-confidence and self-esteem while countless youth report increased compassion, patience, and comprehension skills.
These days donating money to an organization devoted to helping children can be an unrealistic proposition for many. That being the case, donating money may be more realistic than donating time. And therein lies the problem. It is easy to shirk from the idea of devoting time to someone else’s child but all of us are the parents of tomorrow. All of us are responsible for making this world a little better than it was when we arrived. All of us have something unique and valuable to impart to younger generations. My first mentoring experience was the most challenging experience up to that point in my life. It was also the most rewarding. If you have a desire to truly make a lasting difference in the world, find a local youth mentoring program and donate a little time to a child who has been waiting for you their entire life.