Be the Change: Why Mentors Matter

The greatest impact you make on the world just might occur through mentoring the young. Your presence in the life of an at-risk mentee could change their outlook and lead them on a path to success, with a multiplier effect upon others that is incalculable. At the same time, you as a mentor will grow and benefit in surprising ways, learning by teaching and gaining a truer, deeper appreciation for the struggles, abilities, and strength of those you seek to help. It is a supremely worthy calling that we urge you to consider.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is basically giving advice to someone based on your own experience. Your struggles, breakthroughs, and accomplishments can help another person make positive changes in their own life.
Who Is a Good Mentor?
You don’t have to be a successful business owner or executive to be a mentor. A good mentor might be a skilled test taker, a performing comedian, a librarian, a manual laborer – it doesn’t really matter. Anyone who has experienced life struggles, fear, love, success, learned a skill, been a student, played an instrument, and made it to the other side of difficulties has useful experience and insights to impart. The most important qualification is the desire to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Mentoring is part story-telling, with your life as the plot. Every story’s hero struggles to find their true purpose. Whether it was a difficult relationship, a job failure, or financial struggles that you faced, you learned skills along the way. So now your role changes from the hero to the guide, helping your young hero- or heroine-in-training to face and overcome their own challenges.
Recognize Their Potential
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in
yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” – Bob Proctor Depending on your area of expertise, there are strengths that you are particularly attuned to recognize in others. Whether you have been successful in business, gardening, art, or a sport, you have developed your eye to recognize the talent it takes to succeed in your field. Paired with the right mentee you will be able to recognize their gifts, help direct their skills, and unlock their potential. Imagine what your life would be like if you could go back to your younger years. What advice would you give yourself from your current perspective? That advice could change someone’s life, help them avoid or overcome the same struggles, and guide them to make better choices.
Change Their Outlook
“A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained.” – Shawn Hitchcock When we are young all we can think about is ourselves. Actually, let’s face it, that doesn’t change much as we get older. However, as a mentor you can offer a different perspective to a young person through your story. They will relate to your life experiences which will increase their awareness of the world around them.
Contribute to Society
“If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your own path.”
– Buddhist Proverb As a mentor, you help not only the individual you work with; you also help build a better society. Helping one young person become a stable adult will affect all the people they come into contact with, strengthening communication, relationships, and sending a positive ripple out into the community. Over time your actions as a mentor may help hundreds, even thousands of people. Being a mentor has an impact.
Strengthen the Lessons You Have Learned
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” – Phil Collins There is no better way to clarify, understand, and really own the information you know than by teaching others. Teaching forces you to work through the final pieces of the puzzle, consolidating and synthesizing essential knowledge so that it can be transmitted clearly. You will see things in a different way and approach situations from a different perspective.
Ultimately, mentoring is a two-way street with the potential to transform not just one life, but two. You will learn a lot about yourself and gain as much out of the experience as the person you are helping.
Communities In Schools of Jacksonville relies on mentor volunteers to aid in our dropout prevention, literacy, case management and after school activities in Duval County. Commit now to make a difference. Contact us for information.

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