Mentors are powerful influencers that can change lives and create a difference in our communities by providing much-needed guidance, empathy, and wisdom for at-risk youth. Mentors help these young men and women through the challenges of preparing for and entering adulthood, as well as celebrating their successes along the way.
If you are being called to become a mentor, and wondering what that entails, following are five important traits that make a great mentor:
1. A MENTOR EMPOWERS YOUTH TO MAKE POSITIVE CHOICES. We all face difficult decisions in life. For foster youth, these decisions are overwhelming, exacerbated by a lack of consistent adult support and knowledge sharing throughout their life. While some decisions are relatively easy, others require careful consideration and thought. Mentors help these youth to explore and consider outcomes and repercussions, based on their own life experience – to create a positive outcome and foster transformative learning experiences.
2. A MENTOR ENCOURAGES YOUTH TO TAKE OWNERSHIP AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. The most powerful learning experiences come from doing, not through lectures. The best mentors help youth seek challenging tasks that push themselves to develop new skills. The goal is for young people to realize not only understand the consequences of poor or rash decision-making, but to become their own best coach – whether at school, at home or in life.
3. A MENTOR HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE DEVELOP LIFE SKILLS. Setting attainable goals, overcoming challenges, becoming self-aware, and learning techniques to manage thoughts and emotions – these are skills everyone needs to develop and learn how to apply to all aspects of life. Caring adults can help young people practice these techniques and provide encouragement to creating a better future.
4. A MENTOR HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE DEVELOP CORE VALUES. Mentors can guide youth to understand and develop key values that help create focus, change mindsets, and help them achieve their dreams. Mentors help youth understand the value of honesty, integrity, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, thoughtfulness, and sound judgment, creating the foundation for a fulfilling and empowering future.
5. A MENTOR STRENGTHENS INTERPERSONAL SKILLS AND PEER RELATIONSHIPS. Mentors can model and encourage youth to appreciate diversity – of culture, ideas, and strengths – and show respect to oneself and others. The most successful mentors challenge and transform negative self-beliefs to positive thought and help youth develop positive communication skills that create the foundation for empowered self-expression and successful conflict resolution.
Interested in learning more about becoming a mentor? Contact Novelette Bowen for more information.