I am a success today because someone believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let them down.
– Abraham Lincoln
If you ever achieved anything in life you know you couldn’t have achieved by yourself, chances are a mentor had something to do with it.
It may not have been a formal mentor through an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters; it may simply have been a coach who pointed you in the right direction, or a teacher who you knew was always in your corner.
Mentors are special people, and they are an incredible value to our society. So much so that President Obama recently proclaimed January as National Mentoring Month. A portion of the proclamation read as follows:
At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.
Even if it’s just for an hour a week, mentors have the ability to empower and instill a sense of infinite possibility in the minds of young people. I’ve seen it often through my work with the Give Something Back Foundation. Mentors inspire our scholars, help them dream big, set realistic goals, provide feedback and authority, encourage accountability and celebrate their successes. Often these mentor-mentee relationships last a lifetime.
I also see the powerful impact mentoring has on the mentor as well.
Cory Booker, the New Jersey State Senator and former Mayor of Newark said, I’ve been a mentor since college and it hasn’t been an act of charity. It has enriched my life as much, if not more, than the young people I’ve been with.
It’s true, mentoring has the potential to transform not just one life — but two.
How do you know if you’d make a good mentor?
Let me ask you: Have you lived? Worked? Failed? Succeeded? Failed again? If you can tell your story, and listen to others, if you can offer hope — then you can mentor.
So during National Mentoring Month, please consider becoming a mentor and not only change the life of someone who could use a lift, but change your own life as well.
To learn more, visit givesomethingbackfoundation.org/mentors/