My question is a simple on. How does mentorship improve lives in different areas? I sought to answer this question from my own experience as well as through research. For my research I looked at mentorship in a few different areas and in different groups. All of the results that I found shoe=wed mentorship to be very effective in all walks of life and careers.
The Research Collection
1) Article: Challenge! Health Promotion/obesity prevention mentorship Model. Research done by Dr. Maureen Black
This research study was conducted by a group of doctors to see the effect of mentoring on young overweight African heritage youth ages 11-16. The kids were placed with college aged mentors who were tasked with helping the teens live a healthier lifestyle as a way to lose weight and body fat. The results of the two year intervention showed improved body composition, improved diet, increased physical activity and a decline in snacking.
This article backs up my personal belief that mentoring can and does change the life of the mentee in a very positive way. For these young people the changes were amazing. They lived very unhealthy lives where they ate poorly and exercised little and were obese. This, I’m sure, lead to alienation from their peers as well as to physical health issues. If they continued to live this life style, they were destined for a life of poor health both physically and mentally. With the support of mentors they are now on a much brighter path. The young people are living life in a heathier way, and I’m sure that they feel better about themselves as a result. Due to mentorship they will avoid some health problems and will most likely live fuller lives.
2) Article; The Reciprocal Benefits of mentorship. This is a survey of Choral Directors.
This article surveyed music teachers across the country. The survey looked at how mentoring helped out teachers of music, both new to the field and those established. The results showed that mentoring helped out new and old teachers in many different categories. It helped them with dealing with difficult students, working with the administration, working with parents, and overall planning to name a few. The surveys show that overwhelmingly mentorship helps both parties to be better and more effective teachers.
Here again this article supports my theory. It doesn’t matter the field that you are in or the walk of life that you come from; mentorship makes your life better. Instead of leaning as you go or struggling to find your place as a teacher, having someone wise and supportive in your profession to help you out makes you a better teacher more quickly. The results also showed that the mentors got something out of too. In my own experience being a mentor is fulfilling and rewarding as it was for the veteran teachers. Giving back to your community always makes you feel good!
3) Article; utilizing peer mentorship to engage high recidivism substance abusing patients. Research by Dr. Mark Burton
This article looked at the effects of having peer mentors on a group of teenagers who were recently released from an in-patient drug and alcohol facility. The mentees were teen who had been in an in-patient program in the past, but had relapsed after their release. The teens were matched with peers who had been sober for at least one year. The results showed that the majority of the teens lead a substance free life after one year of being released. While some had relapsed, they did not relapse as hard or as long as previously.
This article mad me very happy. It shows how powerful mentorship can be to the at-risk community. As an at-risk kid myself I’ve seen the results first hand, but it was nice to see a research study showing how it can help an at-rick kid with their sobriety. It also shows how strong it is to have peers involved in the process. Even though we are young we can make a profound impact on or peers simply by leading by example and offering our advice based on our past experiences.
The Public Writing
I have submitted the following to the Oregonian.
As an at-risk teen who grew up in the felony flats I have had a difficult life. I won’t complain about my circumstances or about the advantages that I didn’t have, but instead I want to share my experiences as a mentor and a mentee. My life was not going well at the time that I met my mentor. I was headed down a dark path, and really saw no silver lining. My mentor helped me to get my life on track and inspired me to be the best that I could be. I know that all that sounds cliché, but it is true. My mentor really did change my life. I’m now a 19 year old college student who is working fulltime and raising two boys. My life is on a good track and I know that I will do well in life. For the past two months I have myself been mentoring some young at-risk teens. This experience has been more than rewarding! I feel great about myself and am becoming so confident. I get to see the results of my work on the teens that I work with. My insight and relate ability encourages them and gives them strength and hope for their own futures. Since I began working with them, they have done great in school and are themselves on a great path.
I urge you all to volunteer your time to be a mentor. Research shows that mentorship has a profound effect on a person’s life. It doesn’t have to be mentoring an at-risk kid; it can be anyone in any walk of life. It doesn’t matter if it’s at your job, or at your school, wherever you choose to mentor will be rewarding for both you and the mentee. It does not have be a huge time commitment or something that you spend a lot of money on. Simply giving of yourself a few hours a week can change a life forever.