Looking back on your childhood, chances are that there was an adult or two who inspired
you, advised you, comforted you, and helped you though hard times. Whether it was a
parent, a coach, a teacher, or a relative, your mentor helped you grow, learn, and mature
though some of the toughest lessons of growing up. Unfortunately, while all children
have the potential to contribute something special to society, many lack the guidance and
support that a mentor could bring into their lives.
Mentors don’t just secure a special place in the hearts of the children they guide – they
also get concrete results. A Proctor & Gamble study of 133 students in Ohio boasted
spectacular results: all 133 students finished high school, their grade point average rose
by a half-point, their attendance improved, and they were three times more likely to
attend college. A similar study found that disadvantaged students with mentors had
higher aspirations and were more likely to attend college.
Mentoring a student or group of students can take time, patience, and considerable effort
– in many cases the students who need mentoring most are the ones who have never had
a relationship with a trusting and supportive adult. A student who may require the most
mentoring may be going through a tough transition, struggling with a disability, getting
intro trouble at school, or facing problems at home. However, these students are also
often in great need of an inspiring, consistent, and supportive adult who can offer
wisdom, respect, and a ready ear.
The requirements of being an effective mentor are simple: you must have time for the
children you mentor, you must have care about the children you mentor, and you must
bring stability to the mentoring relationship. Mentors should not expect to see changes
overnight in the children that they are mentoring and they should expect some
frustrations and complications. But they must understand that they may be the first person
in the child’s life who has the time, resources, and desire to help the child find happiness
Mentors can help students:
Stay in school until graduation.
Improve grades and class participation.
Gain self-esteem and self-worth.
Have new experiences and gain perspective.
Try new activities and join new groups at school.
Decide upon his or her dreams, goals, and ambitions.