Who do you believe most positively impacted your life? Some might say a family member—mom, dad, aunt or grandpa. Others may say a high school sports coach or a teacher. Still others might say a volunteer mentor—someone who read with them after school or helped them with their math homework.
Those might seem like small acts, but it can make a huge difference in a child’s life. According to the National Mentoring Partnership, at-risk youth with mentors are 52 percent less likely than peers to skip a day of school; 55 percent more likely to be enrolled in college; 46 percent less likely to start using drugs; and 81 percent more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurriculars.
As National Mentoring Month since 2002, January highlights the importance of mentorship—whether that be a partner at a law firm mentoring a young attorney or someone taking the time to explain addition to an elementary school student.
Below a WSFA 12 News piece on Montgomery’s Brantwood Children’s Home includes firm managing partner Tom Methvin and mentee Cornelius Ford, 26, a former resident at the children’s home.
Twelve years after first being paired together, the two still meet up regularly to grab a bite to eat and stay connected. It’s a small act, but Tom says it allows him to remain a father-figure in Cornelius’s life—something that benefits them both.
“We have a responsibility to help the least of these, and mentoring provides an opportunity to change the course of a young person’s life,” he said. “More than likely, they’ll make an impact on you as well. It’s been an honor to mentor CJ and watch him grow over the years.”
As New Year’s resolutions are popular this time of year, consider adding mentoring to your list. Commit to helping the youth in your community or, as the 2008 national proclamation for National Mentoring Month put it, “changing our country one heart and soul at a time.”
The National Mentoring Partnership
The White House
WSFA 12 News