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Fulfilling Potential: How Mentoring Can Change The Lives of Our Youth.

Introduction:


There’s nothing worse than wasted potential. There’s always that one person who has their whole life ahead of them but they do the wrong things and end up going down the wrong path.


It’s heartbreaking to see.


There are 7.6 million teenagers in the UK all with their whole lives ahead of them. But, not all of them will go on to fulfil their true potential. In my eyes, that’s a lot of untapped talent going to waste. 


Imagine if they were, guided, moulded, and had confidence instilled within them to shoot for the stars. Imagine how the future would look.


Well, the key to unlocking potential is easier than you might think. 


You need two things. A listening ear and a helping hand. 


Mentoring isn’t an act of goodwill. It’s a potent catalyst for change. It can shape lives, alter futures and change the fabric of society as you know it. 


Let’s explore its power together.


How Mentoring Shapes Character and Skill


A mentor's guidance is important for a struggling student's development. Mentoring helps to shape their personality. It helps them to develop the required skills to navigate challenges that may lie ahead. 


A mentor works alongside mentees so they can understand what makes them different and how they can use this to their advantage. 


Providing mentees with a supportive environment where they can be themselves, teaches them how to build resilience and confidence.


A mentor is often the first point of contact. 

Their wisdom and experience are some of the most important tools in their arsenal. It allows them to teach their mentees important life skills such as decision-making and goal-setting. 


Both of these together are vital factors that are conducive to the growth of any young person.


But their influence doesn’t end there. A mentor’s presence will help to aid mentees in the development of their social skills - communication, empathy and networking - so they can thrive in any given situation. 


I’d go as far as to say that every great mind had a mentor. Through the strong bonds mentors and mentees develop comes the ability to grow on both an emotional and personal level.


And it's this relationship which helps young children realise what they’re capable of.


The role of mentoring in education


Mentors are more than guides. They’re role models. They play a crucial part in a young person's academic success. Mentors who have been down similar paths can relate to a young person on a much deeper level. And it’s here where the true magic happens.


Done right, mentoring can be an absolute game-changer for any student who faces struggles and wants to uncover their purpose in life.


Meetings between mentor and mentee should occur regularly. This means scheduling daily or weekly sessions to see how they’re progressing. It means addressing shortcomings in their school work and developing ways to improve.


Typically, mentors are older than their counterparts allowing them to shed light on techniques to help them learn and study more efficiently.


But mentoring also transcends the physical aspect of work and school. 


It also dives into children's emotional needs helping them to develop skills they can utilise in the future. This means helping young people gain an understanding of their feelings and how to manage them correctly.


Because let’s be honest, you have to be in control of your emotions if you’re going to get anywhere nowadays.


Careers, Choices and Opportunities


Mentors come from varying backgrounds and experiences. This is what makes every mentor-mentee relationship so powerful and unique. 


This is why it’s so important to have mentors who have life experience and not those who have only gone down the educational route. 


Knowledge can be taught. 


But wisdom comes from experiences. 


If mentors have experience in a particular field, they’re able to offload invaluable insights to their mentees which may help them in their journey. They’re able to share their, pitfalls, mistakes and successes to guide their young person in the right direction. 


It’s not imperative but it can be important. 


A mentor should also share stories of triumphs and failures to offer life lessons that transcend the classroom to equip mentees with firsthand knowledge they can use if similar situations ever arise. 


Stories are the lifeblood of society. They’re how we connect and communicate on a deeper level. It would be stupid to neglect their use.


And if you want to increase the chances your mentee has in their career development then this is the way to go about it. 


Effective mentoring is an integral part of a young person's development. You want to prepare them for what lies ahead. 


And the best way to do this is by investing in mentors who can help shape the future of those they work with.


Relationships are everything


Trust is the bedrock of any successful relationship. And it’s no different when it comes to mentoring. The ability to foster trust and safety is a mentor’s main prerogative.


Take a look at your personal life and at the relationships you value. I can almost guarantee they’re the ones filled with the most trust. And these are the ones that often have the most impact and influence on your life.


Trust is a decisive factor in any relationship. 


Mentors who foster a high level of trust increase their chances of influencing and driving change within their young person.


But how do you go about building trust? 


In all honesty, it’s a slow process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But one way you can develop trust is through honest and direct communication. Back up your words with actions. Make sure you set the standard.


But the most important aspect of trust building comes from consistently interacting with your mentee. This is how you solidify bonds. Through this process, you’re able to foster a safe environment where your mentee can share their feelings, their worries and their aspirations for life. 


It’s in these moments that change will begin to occur. 


Emotional Regulation


We touched on this earlier, but there’s no harm in reiterating it. Mentoring goes beyond offering practical advice. 


Humans are emotional creatures. Your subconscious rules a lot of the decisions you make. Mentors are an important source of both practical and emotional support for young children. 


Mentors tend to deal with children who have come from the toughest of backgrounds. Some come from single-parent homes while others face abject poverty.

However, having a mentor can have a significant impact on the lives of those who have lost all hope. Through meaningful interactions, they discover a new lease of life instilling confidence and resilience as a result. 


A mentor's role is to guide mentees through personal, academic and social challenges. This supportive environment helps young people develop and nurture the all-important skills they will need to solve problems and make well-informed decisions. 


Mentoring isn’t a quick fix.


But with the correct support and guidance mentees can start shaping their future today.


Transforming the lives of young people


The impact mentoring has on people's lives can never be overlooked. Those who 


engage with mentors describe it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 


It’s an experience most never forget. 


Mentoring moulds minds. It brings inherent value that extends well beyond the walls of any classroom. It propels the discovery of personal interest, and self-orientation while instilling mentees with hope for the future.


But to understand how this happens you need to understand the basic mechanics of any mentoring relationship. 


In my childhood, support was few and far between. And although independence is great, sometimes support can go a long way, especially when a child is trying to figure out their purpose in life. 


Mentoring provides young people with important life skills, a sense of direction and the confidence they will need to navigate the pressures of life. 


And this isn’t hearsay. It’s a fact. 





Studies reveal that kids who engage with mentors are 130% more likely to adopt leadership positions throughout their lives. 


I saw the perfect example of this not long ago. A child who was on the brink of exclusion managed to turn their life around and became head prefect in their school. 


If this isn’t proof of the power of mentoring then I don’t know what is.


The Wider Benefits of Youth Mentoring Programmes


Looking past the immediate effect mentoring has on the lives of young people, it also benefits society as a whole. As a society, you’re only as good as your weakest link.


For a community to thrive it needs to invest in its youngest members and mentoring is by far the best way to go about it. 


I only need to look at the community I’m surrounded by. 


Since the closure of community centres young kids from underserved backgrounds riddled by poverty and prejudice have no other option but to turn to detrimental ways of living.


However, youth mentoring services can help cultivate safer communities and enhance the lives of those who engage with them. 


Young people are less inclined to fall into negative behaviours when they have a mentor who can guide and inspire them. In the long run, this can lead to a decrease in crime, anti-social behaviour and violence boosting a community’s overall value. 


Mentorship programmes promote a cycle of positive influence which can spread like wildfire. And as they grow, those who were once mentees tend to carry on the torch and become mentors themselves imparting wisdom and positivity to the next generation. 


The effects of mentoring sometimes go unnoticed but they have a greater impact on society than you’re led to believe.


Conclusion


As you head into the future, think about the investment in your young people.


Mentoring young people helps to bring new perspectives, ignites creativity and fosters resilience within their hearts. 


It’s a channel not only for teaching but for learning and growth. 


It doesn’t only impact a single individual it can also have a profound effect on businesses and society. 


The choice isn’t whether to engage with mentoring or not but to choose between building a brighter tomorrow or letting untapped potential go to waste. 


So, take a step back and think about how you can begin to incorporate mentoring in your schools and colleges. 


Because mentoring doesn’t only change one person's life.


It can change the course of humanity as you know it.

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