The Impact of Volunteer Mentorship Programs on Youth Development

If you’ve ever entertained the idea of volunteering with youth, it’s an idea worth pursuing. Your presence and experiences can help young people realize their potential. And volunteer mentorship often is equally beneficial for both the mentor and mentee.

Continue reading to learn how mentoring programs are beneficial!

Mentors Are a Source of Wisdom and Advice

Every mentor brings a unique set of experiences that can inform their interactions with a mentee. Whether a mentor has worked as an accountant or a shopkeeper, they have educational, career, and personal stories to share. These accrued experiences can be an excellent source of wisdom for young people who may feel like they’re the only ones who’ve dealt with setbacks and insecurities.

Mentorship programs can help mentors learn strategies to funnel these experiences into useful nuggets of advice. This may include establishing a rough agenda for each mentor-mentee meeting that allows space for sharing personal experiences. 

Even better, some mentorship programs are set up so mentees can work with several mentors. This means mentees get diverse perspectives. And this helps them understand that they will need to sift through advice before acting on it. For mentors, this can help ease the pressure of feeling like they’re the lone source of guidance. 

Mentors Can Help Youth Set Goals

Goal-setting is an essential step on the road to success. But students from disadvantaged backgrounds may lack the framework for doing this. Mentors working within programs for youth can provide structure and help. 

For example, a high school student might not have a clear vision beyond graduation. And even high school graduation might sound like a lofty goal. A mentor can step in and help a mentee map out goals with attainable benchmarks. 

A mentee could set a goal of boosting their grade in an English class, for instance. With a mentor’s guidance, the mentee can understand how a stronger effort in the class can do more than just achieve a higher grade. A stronger effort can improve writing and reading skills that will be useful when the mentee applies for a job.

Volunteer Mentorship Offers Encouragement

Perhaps most importantly, mentors can be cheerleaders and encouragers in scenarios where none may exist. Not every young person has a network of family members and friends to support their ambitions. Consequently, some young people might not feel comfortable aspiring to higher goals. That’s where mentors can step in and be that foundation of encouragement. 

Simply letting a young person know that their opinions are valid is a good place to start. Sometimes youth simply need a sounding board for partially-formed ideas. Or they might want to vent about academic challenges. In either case, mentors can step in with a listening and supportive ear.

Volunteer mentorship is central to our identity at OhanaHC. We’re always eager to welcome new mentors who want to help shape the youth in our community. If you are interested in getting involved, we can give you the tools and structure to make a difference. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at info@ohanahc.org to learn more!

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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