Have you ever thought about how much the mentors in your life have made such a positive impact on you? This is why we mentor; mentorship is built on trust, leading by example, and commitment to one another. Ultimately, the motivation for our involvement is sharing the value of having a role model. Growing up, some of us were very fortunate to have had influential people champion us by validating our feelings, sharing in conversation, and helping us grow into the leaders we are today.
Mentorship represents a reciprocal relationship of learning for both the mentee and mentor. Aside from developing meaningful connections, mentoring provides an opportunity to develop and strengthen active listening and problem-solving skills, and support youth through their journey of self-discovery. Furthermore, we have witnessed first-hand the impact of mentorship on our mentees through their newfound confidence, academic growth, and unleashing their full potential.
Assessing the literature, mentorship has been shown to have long-lasting benefits for youth in our community. For instance, studies have shown positive correlations between mentored youth and increased success rates with high school graduation and reduced interactions with the criminal justice system.
Through active reflection, the power of mentorship gives us a person-first perspective in recognizing and better understanding the needs of our communities. We, as mentors, have an incredible opportunity to invoke change and make long-lasting influences on our mentees’ lives. The act of mentoring has positively affected our journey as mentors – personally, professionally, and academically – through strengthening our leadership and interpersonal skills, identifying gaps and systemic barriers in our communities, and uniting as one National Youth Mentoring Advisory Council by advocating for positive, social change.