There is an element of mentoring in all of our Breakaway initiatives, yet there can be significant enrichment for a child through one-to-one mentoring relationships. The supportive, healthy relationships formed between mentors and mentees are both immediate and long-term and contribute to a host of benefits.
Benefits for youth:
- Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices
- Improved behavior and attitude at school
- Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
- Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers
- Improved interpersonal skills
- Greater resilience when facing hardships
- Increased high school graduation rates
- Lower high school dropout rates
- Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations
- Decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use (MENTOR, 2009; Cavell, DuBois, Karcher, Keller, & Rhodes, 2009)
Mentoring can help youth as they go through challenging life transitions, including dealing with stressful changes at home or transitioning to adulthood. Close, healthy, supportive relationships between mentors and mentees that last for a significant portion of time (i.e., more than one year) are central to success.
A mentor is a caring, adult friend who devotes time to a young person (oftentimes these are young professionals in our community). Although mentors can fill any number of different roles, all mentors have the same goal in common: to help young people achieve their potential and discover their strengths. They draw leadership out of young people.
Mentors are not meant to replace a parent, guardian or teacher. A mentor is not a disciplinarian or decision maker for a child. Instead, a mentor echoes the positive values and cultural heritage parents and guardians are teaching. A mentor is part of a team of caring adults.
A mentor’s main purpose is to help a young person define individual goals and find ways to achieve them. Since the expectations of each child will vary, the mentor’s job is to encourage the development of a flexible relationship that responds to both the mentor’s and the young person’s needs.
By sharing fun activities and exposing a youth to new experiences, a mentor encourages positive choices, promotes high self-esteem, supports academic achievement, and introduces the young person to new ideas.
Contact us if you think your child would benefit from a mentor.