Mentor A Young Person

Teresa Kennedy with Young PWR Brokers

Teresa Kennedy with Young PWR Brokers

GIVE BACK: One way to improve the state of the world is to mentor a young person. A number of studies have revealed a correlation between a young person’s involvement in a quality mentoring relationship and positive outcomes in the areas of school, mental health, problem behavior and health (DuBois & Karcher, 2005; Rhodes, 2002; Zimmerman, Bingenheimer & Behrendt, 2005). For example, youth who meet regularly with their mentors are:

    52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school,
    46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs, and
    27% less likely to start drinking (Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters).

One of my most precious experiences has been the work with our Young PWR Brokers at the Dorothy Day House in Harlem. These young women have so much potential and simply need positive attention. Their dreams are just as valid as yours and mine. In addition to my amazing parents, I was extremely blessed to have very strong mentors such as Jesse Hill, Jr. (former Chairman of Atlanta Life Insurance Co. and former Chairman of The King Center) and Charles T. Williams (Tuskegee Airman and one of the first Black Vice Presidents of a major corporation, Schenley Affiliated Brands). Both of these men willingly gave their time and advice whenever I needed it. These men gave me another view of the business world – which I’m sure influenced my choice to go to Harvard Business School and pursue a corporate career and then entrepreneurial path. Just as they were a light for me, you can be a light for someone else. Just one hour a week can make a huge difference.

There are a variety of organizations that are focused on closing the “mentoring gap” making it easy for you to get involved. Here are a few resources to get you started:

  • National CARES Mentoring Movement -National CARES Mentoring Movement is dedicated to recruiting and connecting mentors with local youth by partnering with existing mentoring initiatives. It is particularly focused on closing the huge gap between the relatively few Black mentors and millions of vulnerable children. The website has a searchable database of mentor opportunties across the U.S.
  • Mentoring USA – Mentoring USA’s mission is to create positive and supportive mentor relationships for youth ages 7-21, through a structured site-based model. It began as the first state-sponsored, school-based, one-on-one mentoring program in the U.S. in 1987 and has since provided mentors for more than 5,000 children, serving youth nationally and internationally.
  • Mentor – Over the last decade, Mentor has helped young people between the ages of 6 and 18 by providing a public voice, developing and delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide and promoting quality for mentoring through standards, research and tools. The website also has a searchable database of mentor opportunities in the U.S.
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters – For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. Their model focuses on pairing a child with a role model, building a one-to-one relationship. They provide ongoing support and supervision to the mentor, mentee and mentee’s family.
  • ADC Youthbuild -ADC’s YouthBuild Program assists out of school youth between the ages of 16-24 to obtain a GED and critical hands-on job training in the construction field through a rigorous 10-month program. Operated by Abyssinian Development Corporation, it is an example of a local program that addresses youth development and the interconnected issues of poverty in Harlem.

    Another resource is The Youth Effect: Toolkit for Decision Makers on Engaging With Youth which was a project of the World Economic Forum/Young Global Leaders. Read the piece I wrote on Youth Engagement. Other ways to get involved in improving the state of the world are by volunteering, donating or making a micro-loan, starting your own social enterprise, or expanding your company’s corporate social responsibility activities.

    Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy. Part of the Power Living® Empowerment Series. Photo Credit: Daniel Marsh Kennedy

    SHARE YOUR VOICE: What’s your give-back? Do you have other ideas for how people can get involved in making a difference in this world? Do you have a story about the power of mentoring? Share it here and inspire others to become a New World PWR Broker!

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