Effective mentors can make a difference in the lives of at-risk youths. Source: Lisa Dabbs via Pinterest
Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise of at-risk youth in our communities. An at-risk youth student is best defined as someone that is statistically more likely to do poorly in school due to a low socioeconomic status, disability, and/or little to no parental guidance in the home. One of the best ways to correct this problem is to expose these at-risk youth to positive role models, which is why we are now seeing a number of mentoring programs appearing to help address this issue.
There is a great article that was recently written by Edutopia that discussed the four basic ingredients that a program targeted to mentoring at-risk youth should have. I found this article to be very impressionable and thought that anyone that has ever considered serving as a mentor should take note of these four points highlighted below:
- Caring and Stable Relationships: Teachers are often some of the first mentors that our youth have, and a major challenge that we face with our education system is retaining teachers. In addition to a mentor being trusting and caring, it is imperative that they are a stable and reliable figure for our youth.
- Help Set Attainable Goals: Students often look up to celebrities and athletes in our society and set goals based on what these individuals have achieved. Sometimes these goals are not always realistic, and a good mentor should help guide his or her mentee towards more reachable goals.
- Offer Guidance: Our youth need mentors that can help to guide them towards achieving their goals and overcome obstacles along the way.
- Create Engagement in Both School and the Community: You can help your mentee to become engaged by recognizing his or her positive contributions in these areas.
For more about mentoring at-risk youth, please contact us at OMSF.
Identify what you want your program to focus on before you begin. Source: James Hickey via Pinterest
Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to raise the awareness of Mentorology, which is the art and science of mentoring. Both the organization’s co-founder, Patti Austin, and myself have benefited tremendously from the mentoring relationships that we’ve experienced throughout our lives, and we believe that mentors will play a powerful role in Designing the Next Generation.
We often use our blog to share mentoring success stories and have touched on how to establish a company mentorship program. Before getting started with designing a mentoring program for your organization, though, it’s important to first identify the need.
Perhaps your overall goal of the program is to develop loyal and competent leaders to run and manage the company in the future. Another objective could be to create a mentorship program specifically for women to help encourage their growth up the corporate ladder. Regardless of your reason, there has to be an actual need, and uncovering this should always be the first step in how to start a mentoring program.
Once the need for the mentorship program is identified, you can begin designing the parameters of the program to determine how it will best function and serve your need. For example, if the goal of your mentorship program is to improve the lives of the underprivileged youth in your community, you may consider partnering with a local school. You will also need to consider where and how often mentors will meet with their mentees, how goals will be measured, the length of the program, how staff will provide necessary support to program participants and so forth.
For more about how to start a mentoring program, contact us! Don’t forget to like Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too!