NBA player Carmelo Anthony discussing being a mentor
Video Courtesy of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
National mentoring month (NMM) was created in 2002 by the School of Public Health at Harvard University in conjunction with The National Mentoring Partnership. The purpose of National Mentoring month is to focus attention on the need for mentors, individuals, business, government, schools, faith based organizations, non-profits and everyone to work together to increase the number of mentors available to young people to influence positive outcomes in their lives.
The goals listed on the NMM website include:
Raise awareness of mentoring in various forms.
Recruit individuals to mentor.
Promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring.
Impact on Children
All children, regardless of socio-economic conditions can benefit from having a positive mentor. However, children that are more at-risk for adverse life outcomes because of poverty, low socio-economic conditions, unsafe home environment, poor education, and even geographic conditions, are significantly more at-risk than their counterparts who live in better conditions, have better access to quality education and are living well above the poverty line. The benefits these children receive from a positive mentor are vast and life-changing. Some of those benefits include:
Higher rates of attendance at school
Less likely to fall to peer pressure
Less Likely to drop out of school
More likely to play sports or participate in other healthy extracurricular activities
Being a consistent, positive adult presence in a young person’s life can help a child navigate through personal challenges that they may not have had the skill-set to handle without a mentor. By offering advice, life experiences, and resources, a mentor can change a child’s life for the better forever.
Adults Need Mentors Too
Mentoring is not only for children, but for adults too. College students, recent grads, mid-level professionals, people changing careers, or budding entrepreneurs can all benefit from a mentor that is working in the field they aspire to be in. As adults we still need role models to show us professional leadership that facilitates the development of increased competencies and stronger interpersonal skills.
Having access to a support system during critical stages of academic and/or career development is vital to your success. Having a positive mentor can provide the foundation of a lasting professional and personal network. A good mentor can give direct access to powerful resources within the mentee’s major or profession which can catapult him/her into a new level of success and achievement.
If you are an adult and you need a mentor, the best thing to do is first determine what is it that you want to be or do? If you want to own a franchise restaurant, then you should seek out opportunities to meet and learn from franchise owners. Ask if you can volunteer or even apply to work as an intern at one of their restaurants for hands-on experience. Inquire and find out his/her schedule and determine if they are the right person for you. Potential mentors are usually delighted to share their knowledge, but they do have busy schedules, so have a conversation first to see if this is something they are willing to do. Also remember that the mentee/mentor relationship is a two-way street. Your mentor can benefit from some of the ideas you have too!
If you live outside of the United States, visit the International Mentoring Associationwebsite to learn how you can become a mentor in your own community. There are free webinars and tools that can use to start your own mentoring program in your area.