September 21, 2023

The Gift of Mentoring

By Sonya D. Lavett

January is National Mentoring Month! Mentorships positively impact others through sharing time, care and expertise. Mentoring has proven to play a substantial role in economic, psychological, academic and social outcomes especially in terms of working with youth.

Modeling behavior plays a significant role in how we as human beings learn new things just as a parent shapes the behavior of a child. Just spending time with someone where you can share some insight and expertise has been shown to make a difference in someone’s life. This is why mentoring is such a valuable tool.

Workplaces seem to be an ideal platform for mentoring to occur, as this is where the majority of time and effort is invested for most. Mentoring, however, can be a valuable, worthwhile investment in just about any realm. Whether you work with kids, coach a sport or work with someone one on one with their life skills, positive mentoring can have a substantial impact long after the mentoring process is over.

For adults, mentoring can assist in helping someone learn new skills on the job, how to effectively lead or how to make smarter choices in terms of health and fitness. For kids, a mentor may help in better decision making, learning life skills, improving study habits and building self-confidence.

The world around us is sometimes tricky to navigate, especially as we attempt to try new things and set new goals. Having a mentor by our side as we embark on these challenges makes all the difference in the world. A mentor who challenges us through reflective questions and problem solving is the kind of mentor that makes a real difference.

Whether you are receiving these gifts through a mentor, or you are serving as a mentor to others, there is no better time to become aware of all the positives that a mentor brings to the table. If this is something you have considered but just have not pursued, now is a great time to get started. The need for mentors is limitless in all age groups, from youth to the elderly; we all have something to contribute. Although Mentoring Month lasts all through January, there are a few days to keep in mind:

January 12th – I Am a Mentor Day – a day to reflect and celebrate the positive impact that mentees have had on those volunteering their time and efforts.
January 16th – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – a day to remember the teachings of MLK, Jr. and raise awareness of sharing the spirit of serving others.
January 17th – International Mentoring Day – a powerful day of sharing volunteer moments, through photos, videos and stories on social media platforms all across the global community.
January 19th – #Thank Your Mentor Day – a day to reach out to those who serve and show appreciation for the many ways that they help to improve lives.

If you are in the D.C. area February 1 – 3, be sure to check out the 7th Annual National Mentoring Summit, which will involve nearly 1,000 mentoring movement champions, practitioners, teachers, philanthropists, government and civic leaders, researchers and MENTOR’s network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships. The 2017 Summit will cover “Building Relationships, Advancing the Movement.”