Happy Wednesday, friends! If you've read the previous Girls Rocking 2015! posts, you know that we've already focused on how ad campaigns push unhealthy body types and that some companies are moving beyond that and featuring models with more realistic figures. You know that demeaning comments from others and negative thoughts about ourselves greatly lower our self esteem and how to combat that. You know how detrimental female bullies are and that "mean girls" and "the burn book" from a fictional movie are now reality in today's schools and on social media. Last week, we talked about the word 'beautiful' and how, although some women don't take it as a compliment, it really is just an acknowledgement of God's creation.
Today, we're going to focus on the positive. Mentoring. What is it? How does it help? How to get involved? Continue reading to learn more about this service.
What is a mentor, you ask?
1. an experienced and trusted adviser.
synonyms: adviser, guide, counselor, consultant, confidante
2. advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague)
A mentor is someone who invests time and effort into someone else, usually someone younger. It could be as easy as playing a sport together or having a conversation or even tutoring this person. As long as she has someone reliable who is interested in her and in her corner.
Many young girls don't have a resource like this in their lives. They come home from school to an empty house and a single parent who is still at work. Because of funding cuts, there are fewer and fewer free after-school programs to keep these kids occupied and they often end up hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting hurt or in trouble.
Statistics have shown that kids who have a mentor are more likely to stay in school and perform better in their classes. Kids with mentors are also 46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. Mentors help bring self esteem levels back up to normal range, and help decrease depression rates. The list goes on an on. [Statistics via mentoring.org]
Don't you think something as easy as donating an hour or two a week in order to help a girl reduce her risk of teen parenthood, drug and alcohol abuse and raise her shot at graduating from high school and going to college or succeeding in the workforce is a good investment? I sure do!
What makes a great mentor?
Someone who is reliable, trustworthy and consistent; a good listener but doesn't judge; freely gives support, encouragement and shares knowledge; is open to what the child would like to do - these are all qualities of an A+ mentor.
How can I get involved in a mentoring program?
There are a lot of great organizations who have a mentoring program. Here are a few ways you can get involved.
- Girl Scouts - volunteer to lead a troop or assist with activities
- Boys & Girls Clubs - shoot some hoops and make some new friends
- Visit Mentoring.org to see other opportunities in your state
- Check with your local church to see if they have opportunities
- Volunteer to coach a local recreational team in your town
- Volunteer to be a camp counselor for a week or two during the summer
- Sign up to be a tutor
- Volunteer to read to a classroom of children
- Sign up to teach a kid's craft at your local hobby store
I hope, after reading today's post, that you are inspired to use some of your free time to get involved and make a difference in a girl's life. All it takes is a commitment and willingness to connect with a girl who needs someone in her corner.
You can read more about mentoring here.