Life Lessons: Retirees Are Valuable Mentors for Youth
So, you thought retirement would be a piece of cake and you would love spending time relaxing and pursuing hobbies. Then you woke up to the reality that you’re bored and searching for a new purpose in life. Volunteering with a mentoring program might be the solution.
Life experiences should be shared, and young people need positive role models in their lives. Retirees are valuable mentors for youth because they have lived through the ups and downs in the different phases of life and jobs, relationships, and finances. Volunteering at a youth mentoring program, like the U.S. Dream Academy, that encourages youth to be the best they can be is rewarding for both the retirees and the kids they are helping.
Why Should Retirees Mentor Youth?
Youth today are facing choices and making decisions in life that many retirees find daunting. Although you may not have been faced with the same types of situations, problem-solving is a skill that everyone needs.
Your life experiences are an asset that can have a significant positive impact on the child that you mentor. You can help youth understand and develop character, positive behavior and personality traits. Society sometimes models violence as the only way to react to conflict. Senior citizens and retirees have faced conflict in a variety of situations during their years and can give kids real-life examples of situations where they were able to resolve problems peacefully. Whether you faced conflict in the workplace or at home, your insight can be critical to helping youth understand alternatives to violence.
Youth mentoring is also a wonderful opportunity to help kids develop skills to resist peer pressure and develop friendships, empathy, and sensitivity. As a mentor, you can be a positive role model in a young person’s life and mutually share stories, ideas, engaging activities and struggles without judgment. Mentoring also gives you the opportunity to learn from your mentee. For example, mentees may teach and help their retiree mentors use social media to connect with family and friends. Although there may be a difference in age, intergenerational mentoring has many benefits for both the mentor and mentee. Choosing to be a mentor can make retirement years fulfilling.
What Skills Do Retirees Bring To Mentoring Groups?
You haven’t come this far in life without adapting to change and looking forward to the future. Whether you were a highly respected CEO of a company, worked in the trades, or coordinated your business from home while managing the family – you have skills kids need to learn.
- Wisdom – Retirees can offer advice and options to youth in difficult situations.
- Experience – Retirees can provide support, connections, and resources to youth looking for jobs or furthering their education.
- Social Interaction – Retirees can listen and talk with youth who need a sounding board for ideas, choices, and decision-making.
- Encouragement – Retirees can extend sincerity and caring to youth who need to see themselves as worthy of respect and love.
Retirees as youth mentors provide an alternative to talking with parents and family members in a non-threatening, trusting environment. As you probably remember, working full-time and taking care of a family is exhausting. Some parents who live in high-risk communities might not have as much time as they would like to spend with their children due to having multiple jobs to support the family or having their own personal challenges to navigate. As a mentor, you can help the next generation of children grow up to become well adjusted and functioning adults in society.
Commitment To Learning
Children who live in communities impacted by various societal challenges (including but not limited to violence, low-income, high crime rates, and substance abuse) sometimes see school as a waste of time and not worth putting forth the effort to succeed. Although education has changed since you were in school, you can still help young people understand the importance of knowledge and school. You can share about the educational opportunities available to you growing up compared to the opportunities available to the current generation. Retirees and senior citizens who volunteer as youth mentors can support children in the following ways that contribute to a young person’s education:
- Motivation – Mentors can help young people stay motivated to do well in school.
- Homework – Retiree mentors can not only help students with homework, but also provide accountability.
- Reading – Mentors can share the importance of reading for pleasure.
- School Engagement and Bonding – Retirees can spend time with youth at school attending functions and being actively involved.
You may not have been as involved in your kids’ school and activities as they were growing up, but now that you’re retired, you can make a difference in the lives of young people. While they may not always say it or show it, having a caring adult that consistently takes time out to mentor them is very valuable to a child. At our U.S. Dream Academy Learning Centers, we ask mentors to commit to spending 1 hour per week during the school year with a child.
When retiree mentors show up to mentor their mentee, that’s a big deal for a child. As you are spending time with your mentee in a 1-to-1 mentoring relationship or with a few children in a group mentoring relationship, you’ll get to know them personally and become a part of their lives. From the nurturing bond that you develop with your mentee, you’ll find that he / she will seek to get your advice on many things in life because they trust and know that you sincerely care about them and their well-being.
INVEST YOUR TIME TODAY IN A CHILD’S FUTURE- BECOME A MENTOR TODAY!
The life experiences a retiree can share with our youth is crucial to developing citizens who thrive and will make a difference in society. If you are a senior citizen or retiree that’s looking for a rewarding opportunity that fulfills you, then sign up to be a Dream Mentor today!
We’re not looking for superheroes — just everyday, awesome people like YOU, from the community, who want to help empower children to reach their full potential.
As a mentor, we ask that you invest 1 hour per week with a child at one of our Dream Learning Centers in Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Bernardino and Washington, D.C. – We serve children in grades 2 – 12.