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5 Reasons to Mentor Youth

Who has had a lasting impact in your life? Who do you credit with helping you get to where you are today?

Maybe it was a teacher, an older sibling, a coach, a neighbor, a manager, or an extended family member. That’s the power of a mentor.

The Impact of Mentoring

If you ask someone about their success, you’re likely to hear about an influential mentor. Whether it’s professional, personal, or spiritual, mentoring is often a catalyst for growth and accomplishment. Regardless of the context, mentors offer steady support, hope, wise guidance, experience, and critical encouragement.

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living — if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

It’s no surprise that research consistently proves the positive, long-term benefits of mentoring. Particularly for youth, a healthy mentoring relationship can be critical to achieving both academic and personal goals. Studies point to increases in confidence and performance as well as decreases in risky behavior in students who are mentored.

Mentoring can improve academic performance, school attendance, graduation rates, and attitudes. But, the power of a mentor runs deeper than numbers may indicate. Messages of empowerment — “I believe in you,” “you’re worthy of this opportunity,” “I think you have what it takes,” “it’s okay to try and fail,” — help recognize and unleash a student’s potential, which can change the trajectory of a life.

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.” — Bob Proctor

Why You Should Be a Mentor

If those aren’t reasons enough to considering mentoring, mentors also benefit from investing in others. Increased self-esteem, well-being, fulfillment, and accomplishment are common positive outcomes for mentors. Consider these five benefits of mentoring others.

1. Help someone realize their potential. We all have unique talents and gifts. Activating the potential in someone by celebrating their talents empowers them to improve their own life, achieve their goals, and help others.

2. Give back to your community. The most impactful way to improve your community is to spend time investing in it. Mentoring youth in your community is a powerful way to invest in the next generation.

3. Learn more about yourself. Meaningful relationships are a two-way street. Learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, experience, and beliefs by sharing them with someone else.

4. Change someone’s life. An intentional relationship has the power to alter a person’s life – particularly youth – for the better. You may be the only stable, positive impact in a youth’s life. The ripple effect is tremendous.

5. Become a better leader. Investing in the life of someone else challenges your perspective, sharpens your interpersonal skills, and exposes you to different decision-making approaches. Mentoring gives you the opportunity to learn by doing.

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