Long-time readers of SpeakingDIRECT may know that January is National Mentoring Month, as we’ve been writing about mentoring and our work with programs like MENTOR Minnesota for at least eight years. The official designation goes back to 2002, when President George W. Bush proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month, endorsed by both chambers of the United States Congress. The campaign to create this focus on mentoring was spearheaded by the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Its media partners have included the major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox.
The need for youth mentors and mentoring continues to grow. 2015 data indicated that 250,000 youth needed a mentor. Projections for 2020 increase that number to 310,000, based on causes such as lack of supportive relationships, new worker entry, and scholastic deficiency (to name just a few).
Celebrating Mentoring Month with the Minnesota Timberwolves
MENTOR Minnesota celebrated MENTOR Day last Friday—and IWCO Direct was there! We hosted 100 mentor/mentee pairings at the Timberwolves game. The event included pre- and post-game opportunities to meet players and staff and learn about the “coaching experience” from a professional sports perspective. The experience for attendees was heightened because it was the first game for the T-Wolves’ new interim coach, Ryan Saunders. It was an exciting game for all, not just our mentees and mentors. The T-Wolves lost by two, but there was never a dull moment on the floor.
Steel Partners Helps Create Mentoring Opportunities with SteelGrow
IWCO Direct’s mentoring efforts are not limited to Minnesota. One of the things that excited us about joining the Steel Partners family was their commitment to mentoring through SteelGrow, an encompassing council that focuses on careers, recruiting, and engagement. Steel Partners is engaging with all of its operating companies to design a new mentor program. The project team will design the program, as well as define ways to attract, recruit, and train participants. It will also identify mentor/mentee opportunities using profile matching then coach mentors and mentees in relationship building through a guided experience. Launch of the design phase is targeted for March; we’ll keep you updated on its progress in future SpeakingDIRECT posts.
Kathleen Korpita, Director, Steel Partners talent manager, provided these proven recommendations for a positive mentoring experience for both mentor and mentee:
- Set goals that work for you.
- Celebrate the small wins.
- Savor your breaks.
- Let yourself try and try again.
- Hustle with heart.
Are You Ready to Be a Mentor?
While January is the nationally recognized month to celebrate mentorship, you can become a mentor any day of the year. A connection can be a formal pairing with in-person meetings, or as simple as connecting with youth via email. Please take a moment to consider how you can mentor in your business or community. At its core, mentoring guarantees young people there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.
Become a mentor. Find your opportunity at www.mentoring.org. Let someone know they matter.
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