TO MENTOR OR NOT THAT IS THE QUESTION……..or is it.
I think not! Mentoring is something almost everyone of us has experienced in some way….. a coach that gave you encouragement or a teacher that helped you understand the research project. But the research is out there….access to formal mentoring is not available to all. The playing field is not level or even open to everyone!
Research recently released by Mentoring.org stated: This is the real mentoring gap—our nation’s most vulnerable youth have less access to caring adults outside their families, and fewer opportunities to engage with such adults through academic, community, and extracurricular activities.
This past weekend Horizons4Girls took the time to make sure to make that mentoring available to all. Our high school students had a very engaging weekend that was 2 nights and 3 days and I will share more about that in another entry.
Here I want to tell you about my time with our middle school students. I took some of our middle school students to a free community breakfast called Ceil’s Meal hosted at First Congregational Church. The mission of this event held on the 5th Saturday of the month is to bring a very diverse group together to enjoy a meal. Ethnicity, economic background, age, religion ~ NONE of that matters as we sit down together at tables of 10 and enjoy some wonderful food. My students enjoyed the food AND the engaging conversation at our table.
Again, the power of this supportive multi-generational interaction is important. Going back to research from Mentoring.org and author Putnam: Putnam showed that, by an uncomfortable margin, affluent youth were far more likely to have informal mentors. Indeed, with the exception of extended family members (which Putnam characterizes as typically strong but not as helpful in supporting new pathways), youth in the top socioeconomic status (SES) quartile report dramatically more informal mentoring across every category of adult.
From there we went to SpacePort and of course started at Cosmic Bounce and then toured the exhibits at SpacePort and were engaged in conversation with a gentleman that is a glass blower. We were able to watch him making things including glass barometers that the sailors used to forecast the seriousness of upcoming storms on the Great Lakes. We finished our day together at South Pier Ice Cream Shoppe enjoying our ice cream as the cold rainy spring weather blew across South Pier.
Even I learned facts I didn’t know. BUT the most powerful moment for me was as I took my students home, one of them commented: “When I get done with all my schooling, I want to be a mentor so I can help other students as part of Horizons4Girls.”
a mentoring program meeting criteria of Mentor.org works with students
Sheboygan County, middle and high school. We mentor, lighting an internal spark that will help our students as they fulfill personal and academic goals. Our students become engaged in planning their future. For more information to make a referral or volunteer, visit www.horizons4girls.com or call 920-254-1584.