The best advice that I have received thus far in my journey through life is to get a mentor.
It has been suggested to seek someone who is currently traveling down the career path that I to am trying to pursue; while this is not an easy task I am still currently interviewing and researching potential candidates. Being a mentor is a responsibility that only the dedicated few should strive to become.
It not only empowers you and gives you a sense a self worth, but you have the opportunity to change another person’s life. In my experience as a mentor I realized although I signed up originally to be a positive influence in my mentees life, she too had an impact on mine.
Coming from a background where education is valued, I was under the impression that education was the one wish that all parents had for their children. Through my mentees experiences, I learned that wasn’t always the case. Her older sister’s highest level of education was the 7th grade, so she was never encouraged to pursue a higher level of education. Through the mentoring process, we were able to develop a sisterly bond. I took on the role of being her older sister while encouraging her to go to school, meeting with her teachers, helping her with homework and motivating her to go to college.
She visited my college campus and had the opportunity to spend the night at my dorm. Encouragement and the belief in oneself can go a long way. I had the pleasure of watching her grades increase and her perception on attending college change. It was an incredible feeling and although at times it was frustrating, in the end it was an amazing journey.
While looking for an organization in New York City where I could possibly mentor again, I came across Mentoring USA. In 1995 Mentoring USA became a non-profit organization, but the idea behind it was established in 1987. It was developed due to the alarming school drop out rates and teenage pregnancies. Since they started, Mentoring USA has served more than 5,000 youth, providing them each with a mentor.
Their mission is to create and maintain a reliable relationship with children between the ages of 7-21 and their mentor. Their program components include anti-violence, healthy lifestyle and self-esteem, financial literacy, arts, and career development. These programs are provided within community centers, partnering schools foster care agencies and other non-profits.
Mentoring USA is currently serving communities in Newark, Houston New York City, Los Angeles and many other U.S cities. So if you are interested in mentoring do research on organizations in your local community or if you are specifically interested in Mentoring USA, please visit www.mentoringusa.org.