New year, new goals: Mentoring

By Brittany Farrar on 5th Jan 2022

January is National Mentoring Month, a time when we can celebrate and note the importance of both serving as and having a mentor. At Youth Villages, we work to provide good mentors and counselors to our children, our families, and young people involved in programs like LifeSet.

Whether through Youth Villages’ Chris Crye Mentoring Program or through another program or organization like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, you can be a big change in a child’s life. Mentors serve as positive adult role models, providing life and career advice, support and fun, and filling mental and physical needs of companionship for young people. Anyone with the desire to help young people be their best can serve as a mentor. Here are a few ways you can help:

Career mentoring: When it comes to career decisions, many people have a parent or professor – even a boss – who helped guide them during key moments. Many young people don’t have that same access, whether it be due to their family life, lack of in-person schooling due to COVID-19 or being involved in the foster care system. By serving as a mentor to a young person, you can help shape careers and secure someone’s long-term financial stability.

Mental health support: The last two years have shown all of us the importance of mental health. Mentors can help young people learn how to respond to certain situations by serving as a good example in times of stress or adversity. Supporting them through their mental health challenges through anything from fun activities to being a listening ear can improve a young person’s overall mental health.

Educational guidance: Without the financial assistance or encouragement from family members, some young people stop their education before they normally would, i.e. dropping out of high school or not pursuing further education. College isn’t for everyone, but specialty training could be hugely beneficial. Mentors can help with these critical decisions, helping guide young people as they choose their path and being with them throughout the journey.

Serving as a confidant/advisor: A mentor can help young people talk through difficult times, whether challenges with friends and family or key life decisions. By serving as a sounding board, you can help kids learn how to think through issues and make good decisions.

Being a mentor is a mutually beneficial relationship for both mentor and mentee. You’ll grow as a professional and improve your communications and problem-solving skills. And your mentee will learn lifelong lessons. For more information about becoming a mentor through Youth Villages visit www.youthvillages.org/mentor.

Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org. For resources on coping with mental health struggles, visit Suicide Prevention Lifeline or National Alliance for Mental Illness. 

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