Childhood Mentors – They Changed My Life

What would my life be like without my childhood mentors? I entertain that question often, especially in this season when we are inviting others to mentor alongside of us in our Men of Distinction, Boys2Men and Grow Girls mentoring initiatives.

With sports being my primary interest, many of my early mentors were my coaches, but not all. I had school teachers, scout group leaders and church pastors as well. People who gave their time to invest in a latch key kid who often sported a bad haircut and wore his basketball shorts way to short :)!

I remember their names mostly — Coach SW “Stub” Hampton, Coach Charles Smith, Mrs. Shadid (my typing teacher), Mrs. Thompson (my math teacher), Pastor Ken Sullivan…BUT mostly I have memories of them “showing up at the show up place” — a ball field or gym, a classroom, a church building. They were there for me and my friends.

Perhaps little did they know they were planting the seeds of service and consistency and discipline in the life of a young boy who some 40 years later would be paying it back to others. And that’s the beauty of mentoring.

As a mentor, speaking into the life of a young person via your presence, words, and modeling can be life changing.The numbers show it. Based on 55 studies of mentoring youth, introducing them to new experiences and sharing positive values, young people avoid negative behaviors and achieve success more readily. For example:

59 percent of mentored teenagers earn better grades.

27 percent of mentored youth are less likely to begin using alcohol.

52 percent of mentored youth are less likely to skip school.

Youth with mentors have increased likelihood of going to college, better attitudes toward school, increased social and emotional development, and improved self-esteem.

Pretty great, right? But here’s another NOT so great statistic that MUST change. Only one in three students hoping for a mentor has one. Flip side, two out of three children do NOT. 

Again I reflect, what would my life be like today without the men and women who invested in me? So what’s it take to be a mentor with Loving Community and Mentor America?

Our mentoring initiatives require an investment of 2-3 hours per month.

Most happen over two lunch periods in a month’s time. (8 months – Oct-May)

You must go through a background check and attend a training.

You must honor your commitment to your student.

Would you consider being on our team of mentors increasing the likelihood of a young person going to college, having better attitudes toward school, increasing social and emotional development, and improving their self-esteem?

Bottom line it boils down to our WILLINGNESS to pay it forward and “show up at the show up place”! (Oh and it’s lots of fun as well!)

You can find more information and sign up to be a mentor at our Volunteer Central link on the Loving Community website or Mentor America website. Also you may contact Jim Mustain at jmustain@loving-community.net if you have additional questions.

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