Family Resources on Finding a Mentor
Project and Purpose
Students will answer questions to discuss and understand the value of mentorship.
Ten-year-old Tyrone used to be shy and rarely played with other kids his age. “And I didn’t like to smile because of my teeth, but now that I got a big brother, we go out in public a lot, I smile a lot and I don’t care what anybody says about my teeth, so I smile,” he says. The “big brother” he’s talking about is Anthony Spinola, his mentor.
Finding a Mentor
A study by Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America reports that confidence is just one of the benefits from having a mentor. Mentored kids are also more likely to grow up and have a fouryear college degree, a job making over $75,000 a year and have more meaningful relationships with their friends and family.And, they are more likely to become volunteers like Itoro Ufot. “A lot of people sacrifice a lot of time for me to be where I am now, and I feel like now that I’m in a position to give back, it’s probably my time,” he says.
Experts say mentors can even help kids who even have good role models in mom and dad. “The child needs someone that’s special to them. It’s someone that [they] can talk to sometimes when [they] can’t talk to [their] parent,” says Janice McKenzie-Crayton of Big Brothers Big Sisters. But before signing off on any mentor, parents need to ask questions to make sure the mentor is right for their child. “The parent ought to be told the likes and dislikes of the volunteer, the background of the volunteer, what the volunteer’s involved with, what work they do, etc.,” she says.
If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about the value of having a mentor (in addition to a parent or grandparent). In class students discussed the type of mentors that would be helpful to them.
Getting Ready for the Conversation
The video for this module features Tyrone who has been assigned a mentor through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. Tyrone discusses how having a mentor motivates him to do well in school and make safe and healthy choices.
Conversation Starters and Practice at Home
The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.
What do you think you should look for in a mentor? Why? Were there other interesting comments from class?
Who are the adult mentors in your life? Why do you consider this person/these people to be good mentors for you?
Are there other youth in the neighborhood or community you know who need mentors? How could our family help?
Schools to Home Resources on Finding a Mentor
Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions
- According to the U.S. Department of Education, mentoring programs generally fall into the following categories: Educational or academic mentoring to help improve academic achievement; career mentoring to help develop the necessary skills to enter or continue on a career path; and personal development mentoring to support youth during times of personal or social stress. What category of mentor would you seek?
- How would you describe the perfect mentor for you? What would you hope to learn from this person?
- Teens can also serve as role models and mentors to younger children. What experiences and knowledge would you share with younger students?
- How might you identify a mentor? Is there a Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America organization in your community? What other programs might you take advantage of within your school and/or religious community?