Whether it’s in business relationships, personal relationships or school relationships, mentoring plays a valuable role in our community. Becoming a mentor to our Virgin Islands youth gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge, experience, and principles with someone else. If you’ve ever been mentored yourself, you know how beneficial a mentor can be.
So of course, when looking at how adults can serve the children in our community, mentoring comes high on the list. Mentoring a child helps them to see unlimited possibilities for the future, learn something new and most importantly, realize that somebody cares about them. Here’s why mentoring matters for children—and why you should consider getting involved.
1. Mentoring helps to learn new things.
When you mentor a child, you can teach them any number of new things, helping to expand their mind and absorb new information. However, even more than practical skills and knowledge, having a mentor exposes children to new ideas, new thought processes and new ways of life, that they might not have received otherwise from their immediate circle of adults. When children learn new things, they can continue to grow into well-rounded and stable adults themselves.
2. Mentoring gives new experiences.
Just as mentoring helps children learn new things, it also gives new and exciting experiences. One study conducted by North Carolina State University shows that youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to attend college when they have a mentor. This can be in part from the experiences they gain through the mentoring process. When children are exposed to a variety of controlled circumstances during their development, they learn confidence, feel connected and will be more likely to search for new experiences as they become adults.
3. Mentoring provides valuable adult relationships.
Oftentimes, the children who need a mentor the most are those who otherwise might not have very stable relationships in their lives. Appropriate adult relationships are an incredibly important component in any child’s development. They provide someone the child can look up to, trust and learn from. According to a five-year study conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, children with mentors were found to be more confident and have fewer behavioral problems than their peers without mentors.
4. Mentoring shows someone cares.
Finally—and possibly most importantly—mentoring shows that someone cares. Children know their parents are supposed to love them. They understand that even their teachers should care for them in some way. But when they have a separate adult come in and love them appropriately, without any visible “benefit” or “recognition,” they truly feel special. By establishing a mentor relationship with a child, you can change a life through the power of caring. When children know someone out there cares for them, they’re less likely to get in trouble, more likely to focus on getting good grades and more likely to be involved with the community themselves.
If you want to make a valuable impact on your community that will literally last a lifetime, consider mentoring a child. You have the opportunity to make a genuine difference in their life, and you might be surprised at the benefits you gain as a result of reverse mentorship as well.
To learn more about our collaboration with the Virgin Islands Department of Education and their mentorship program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org