Become a Mentor
Kevin’s eyes lit up every time I showed up. He was a 9th grade student at Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas. At the time I was working for Texas Instruments and my job allowed me to take time off during the week to meet with a student for just one hour each week. We would normally meet in the library at his school and talk about his life. I didn’t know what I was doing, but that didn’t seem to matter to Kevin. He genuinely seemed surprised that I was there week after week. I had never been a mentor before, nor had I ever had a mentor, so I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. The way the program worked, we really just showed up to listen and show that we cared. Each week we would talk about simple life stuff, but one week when I showed up to the school there was a bunch of flowers on the floor in a large pile in the center of the room. A student had committed suicide and this was his memorial. I had the opportunity to talk about a hard topic to Kevin and it also reminded me that students are dealing with hard life issues.
As a mentor we may never know the impact we will have on the life of a young person. If you are in the McKinney, TX area and are interested in mentoring, check out REACH.
Oh Captain, My Captain!
Fast forward a few years and I have had the privilege of being mentored for over 8 years consistently by the same person. I have a great relationship with my parents, but sometimes it is nice to have an adult to talk to that isn’t your parent just to get a second opinion or advice. My mentor has been like a captain on my ship that at one time was unguided. I am constantly coming up with new ideas and before my mentor was part of my life I would often just try things out without giving them a lot of thought. I started a house painting business, a t-shirt business, a online scavenger hunt and a myriad of other things often times spending a lot of effort and money only to find that it wasn’t a good fit or I wasn’t really passionate about what I was doing.
My mentor has been the most consistent and healthy relationship in my life. Over the years our friendship has grown and I’ve gotten to see both of our lives impacted positively from our relationship. What I have learned in my 43 years of living is that we all need to feel wanted and valuable and “seen”. There is a saying in Zulu called Sowubona, and it is how they say hello to each other, but the literal interpretation is “I see you, and by seeing you I bring you into being.” I love that. When we are truly seen and understood by others it makes us feel like we matter. Have you ever felt invisible? I have and it doesn’t feel good. And that feeling of being invisible can come even when we are surrounded by people. Having a mentor just show up and listen each week has changed the trajectory of my life.
The Science of Mentorship
“Mentorship is to be influenced by individuals, ideas and society.”
From this engaging Ted Talk and diagrams you will walk away with the what, why, when, and how the Science of Mentorship works.
Mentorship is a science that has not been clearly defined. Through Shawn’s heart felt experience and research he has found kernals of truth that define mentorship and displays the application of his findings.
Mentorship specialist, author, speaker and mathematician, Shawn started his life as a crack baby. After losing his brothers to violence and prison, Shawn found another path that lead him to an education and opportunity. Blanchard is the CEO and Founder of Shawn Blanchard Productions and the Style Advisor and Co-Owner of SnapSuits.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD MENTOR
Recently I was in Austin at the state capitol and we heard from Dan Leal the Executive Director of Seedling Mentors. He talked to us about their mentoring program and how they pair mentors with students who have a parent in prison. “Seedling’s mission is to support children challenged by parental incarceration with innovative, research-driven, school-based mentoring.”
From Mentoring.org – Before becoming a mentor, here are a few things to understand about the role of mentoring. Most of us have had a teacher, supervisor, or coach who has been a mentor to us and made a positive difference in our lives. Those people wore many hats, acting as delegators, role models, cheerleaders, policy enforcers, advocates, and friends. Mentors assume these different roles during the course of a relationship, and share some basic qualities:
- A sincere desire to be involved with a young person
- Respect for young people
- Active listening skills
- Ability to see solutions and opportunities
From the Seedling website…
Seedling has nearly 100 students on its waiting list. You can reduce that number. When you mentor, you directly impact a child’s life.
The Seedling Mentor Program has matched over 2,000 deserving students with caring, adult mentors who provide them with a consistent presence of a supportive and encouraging friend. You make a direct impact when you volunteer your time.
Thanks to Seedling donors and mentors, we are able to reach over 100 schools in 11 different school districts, as well as 16 charters. Program enrollment grows most years an average of 10-20%, making volunteer mentors critical to meeting that demand. Please help us reach each of the 8,000 children in Central Texas who deserve a compassionate, trained mentor!
If you live in Austin, TX or if you are interested in starting a mentoring program in your area, then check out Seedling Mentors.
Teachers are Mentors
Some of my best teachers were also my mentors. In big and small ways they impacted my life on a daily basis. If you are passionate about changing the world for the better – a teaching career is a great way to start! iteach is committed to impacting the world through education. If you are interested in getting certified to teach and you already have your bachelor’s degree, you can start teaching in a matter of weeks.
We are excited to offer accredited online teacher certification in several states. Choose your state to learn more about the teacher certification process and get started on your journey as a teacher. Our program is affordable and was created for teachers, by teachers.