As we approach Labor Day, we think about the students in our families returning to school and the importance of an engaged, educated workforce to our business. SpeakingDIRECT is pleased to welcome Jess Anna Glover, Executive Director of MENTOR Minnesota, as our guest blogger today.
Two-thirds of Americans consider it highly important for young people to have mentors. However, a recent study estimates that only a quarter of youth have the mentors they need.
We’ve long known the positive impact of formal mentoring on youth. The consistent, enduring presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life can be the difference between staying in school or dropping out, making healthy decisions or engaging in risky behaviors, or realizing one’s potential versus failing to achieve one’s dreams.
Not surprisingly, recent research brings to light the other part of that relationship, the positive impact on the adult mentors. A new study, The Power of Relationships: How and Why American Adults Step Up to Mentor the Nation’s Youth, is the most comprehensive picture of adult engagement in the mentoring movement to date.
At a time when much of the focus is on what divides us, it’s important to remember that Americans are overwhelmingly crossing racial, economic, and other bridges to mentor young people outside their families and helping them navigate structures and systems that don’t always favor them. Seventy three percent of mentors are mentoring youth of a different ethnicity, while seventy eight percent are mentoring youth of a different socioeconomic status.
Adults view mentoring as a catalyst to make communities healthier and more connected, while also addressing many causes of inequality. Most Americans are supportive of mentoring young people outside of their family and feel that our government and private sector should invest more in mentoring.
A Strong Legacy of Support for Mentoring
Research also shows that employees have higher career and job satisfaction in companies who support youth mentoring. IWCO Direct has been a long-time partner of MENTOR Minnesota because its leaders believe in the positive impact of mentoring on both the youth and adults involved.
Jim Andersen, CEO of IWCO Direct, started his involvement with MENTOR Minnesota through the Minnesota Business Partnership, serving many years on the Board of Directors, and is now a Board Advisor. Beverly Lohs, VP of Human Resources, is our current Board Chair and a very active leader in bringing our mission and vision to life. Corporate sponsorship by IWCO Direct has supported our efforts to advocate, educate, and set quality standards for mentoring.
MENTOR Minnesota Encourages You to Make a Positive Impact Where It’s Most Meaningful
A relationship can build a bridge from what is to what can be. Creating and nurturing strong relationships is crucial to the success of any project. This is true whether your focus is youth development, workforce development, leadership development, or community development.
Since we know there is a significant gap between individuals looking for a mentor and individuals available to mentor, we must find opportunities to fit these pieces together—adults willing to have a mentoring relationship and a field of development they feel they want to impact.
Get Connected with Mentor Connect
Mentoring is connected to positive outcomes for youth including educational attainment, poverty alleviation, and youth violence prevention. It is a flexible and adaptable way to support young people. When adults are given an opportunity to engage with youth, we are overwhelmingly willing to do it to improve the lives of the young people in our communities. If you are interested in making an impact, there are many quality mentoring programs out there waiting to connect you with a mentee and help you be part of the change you wish to see. Find a quality mentoring program in your area by visiting Mentor Connect.
Mentoring is critical to America’s future. You can help shape that future—encourage mentoring and become a mentor today.
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