Change A Child’s Life: 7 Reasons to Become A Mentor
Every child needs reassurance and guidance at some point in their life. Life is a journey of transitions for everyone, and children, just like adults, experience feelings as they anticipate or react to transitions that they experience. For a child, things such as moving to a new neighborhood, starting school with a new teacher, losing a family member or friend due to illness or violence, absence of a parent due to incarceration, attempts to build new friendships or the birth of a new sibling are examples of transitions that may impact a child during their youth development years.
Depending on the child’s stage of development, the impact of transitions from their normal routine of life will be determined by the child’s previous experiences, temperament and resiliency. The children (in grades 2 – 12) that we serve at our U.S. Dream Academy Learning Centers across the country experience the normal transitions of a young person growing up, and some of them have unique life events that could impede them from achieving their goals and dreams if they didn’t have a mentor.
As cited by the U.S. Department Health & Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families, caring adults play an important role in supporting young children. Caring adults include people such as family members, teachers, caregivers, community leaders and mentors that can give positive support and guidance to youth. Studies on the outcome of mentoring show that a child who has grown up being mentored outside the home environment is more likely to finish high school and get into college compared to a child who didn’t have a mentor.
The benefits of mentoring are reciprocal to mentors as well. Mentoring provides a great opportunity for personal satisfaction as mentors give back to society by molding the future generation of leaders, and provides a chance to develop their personal skills in various areas. Discover 7 reasons to become a mentor below.
Benefits Of Mentoring To The Mentor
1. Giving Back Makes You Feel Good
Being a mentor allows you to make a difference in someone’s life. Children start dreaming of who they want to become at a very early age. There are children who dream of becoming a pilot or a doctor but ended up dropping that dream because no one was present in their life to guide them along the path of life. When young people are led and encouraged to pursue their dreams, there is a higher probability that they will achieve that dream.
Some of the most successful and famous people often attribute their success to the mentors that took them by the hand during their younger years. Most teachers act as modern-day mentors. To them, there is nothing better than meeting a student 10 or 20 years later and seeing the gratitude in their face because of the life-changing impact that they had on their lives. Many caring adults, from various backgrounds and industries, that mentor young people also experience of that same gratitude among the many other rewards.
2. Strengthen Your Beliefs & Values
Over time, every human being develops beliefs and values that aid in their success in life. As a mentor, you will play a significant role in helping a young person identify their own values and definition of success. Being able to witness the assistance needed by youth and the transformational change from your mentoring efforts will strengthen some of your personal beliefs and values. Commitment to giving back, personal reflections of how an action or encouraging word made a big impact in your life, and first-hand realization that positive reinforcement is essential for young people are examples of how your beliefs may be edified.
3. Increase Your Leadership Skills
Being a mentor is leadership in action. In a youth mentoring relationship, you are a guide to your mentee. You’ll learn how to help a young person navigate the journey of life to overcome obstacles, identify their strengths and accomplish their goals.
In addition, you’ll sharpen your own leadership skills in many ways. Improvement to communication skills, by actively listening and expressing empathy to your mentee, is one way that mentoring can benefit you in other areas of your life. Mentoring may also help you see things with “new eyes” from a broader perspective. Your leadership agility may increase as you enhance your problem-solving skills and consider multiple perspectives when providing guidance to your mentee.
4. Broaden Your Understanding
As a mentor, you won’t always be guiding young people who are like you or who want to be like you. You might be an accountant mentoring a child who wants to be a doctor or computer software engineer. Your job experience doesn’t dictate that you should only mentor a child who wants to grow up and pursue a job that you currently hold. You have so much more to offer to a young person than just your job skills, and a mentee will be excited to learn many different things from you.
Our U.S. Dream Academy after-school, mentoring program provides mentors with initial and supplemental training on how to engage and support young people that may have different backgrounds and experiences than themselves. Some of the most critical keys to being an effective mentor are being caring, consistent, and trustworthy. Your various life experiences will be beneficial to you as you provide support to your mentee.
Benefits To The Mentee
1. Youth Express Themselves Without Judgement
Some young people have a tendency to not always tell anyone what’s bothering or frustrating them. Have a caring mentor provides a pathway for a child to open up to someone without feeling like they’re being judged or like they’ll be punished. Children won’t always run to their parents for help, but they still need someone they can turn to for guidance and support.
Having a listening ear in addition to their parents can provide young people with a healthy and safe outlet to communicate their feelings, fears, hopes and challenges.
2. Opportunity To Gain New Perspectives
Youth mentoring programs can create opportunities for exposure in many ways. When mentors share their background and experiences or participate in an activity with their mentee, they can expose young people to a new world of possibilities for their future. Youth can gain new knowledge, improved communication and social skills, refined character and appreciation of other cultures, and much more through a positive mentoring bond.
3. Build Dreams In Youth
One of the most significant reasons to become a mentor is that you get to ignite the flame in a child’s heart for their dreams. At U.S. Dream Academy, we firmly believe that a child with a dream is a child with a future. Mentoring has a powerful effect on young people, and when mentors witness dormant ideas transform into dreams actively being pursued, it is mutually fulfilling for both the mentor and mentee.
DREAM MENTORS FOR YOUTH ARE NEEDED
There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you have made a difference in someone else’s life. If you desire a rewarding opportunity to make a change in the life of today’s youth, then sign-up to learn more about our U.S. Dream Academy youth mentoring program.
We are currently looking for an additional 300 men and women to invest 1 hour per week with a child as a mentor at our 8 Dream Learning Centers in Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino and Washington, D.C. — Learn More and Sign-Up to Become a Dream Mentor!