Education

Mentoring builds better people and stronger community

Everyone has a definition of the word “mentor” and an idea of what it means to be one.

Mentoring consists of a variety of components — a trustworthy adult or older student who is available to answer questions and offer guidance and support; a role model to help someone reach his full potential; or someone to help in making life and career choices.

While some people may be successful without a mentor, the vast majority of us are successful because someone took the time and energy to help us to get to where we are today.

Pathways for Change CEO Connie Bookman heard about the Studer Community Institute’s plan to start a mentoring program for mothers.

PFC already had “Stepping Stones”, a mentoring program designed to provide support for the healing and transformation of women who have faced difficult times in their lives. Bookman suggested that PFC and SCI work together to recruit, train and provide mentors for women in both programs.

As a result, Studer Community Institute Mother Match mentoring program will partner with Pathways  “Stepping Stones” to ensure that anyone, anywhere can find a mentor to meet their needs.

Starting in November, SCI and Pathways will begin hosting a mentoring orientation/training at Pathways for Change on Blount Street.

Mentoring groups in the Pensacola area — Big Brothers Big Sisters, Escambia County Youth Motivators, Take Stock in Children and others — will be on hand to offer information on best practices, opportunities to share resources and ideas, and offer prospective mentors a pool of mentoring groups from which to select one that best suits their needs for participation.

But the mentoring opportunity won’t be limited to women and mothers. The idea is to expand the mentoring orientation/training sessions to recruit mentors for men as well as grandparents.

Fathers and grandparents play an important role in the family dynamics. We often overlook the vital role that fathers and grandparents are playing in assisting and, in some cases, taking on the role of primary parents, in raising and nurturing their children.

The mentoring relationship is a critical part of filling in the gaps between the skills you possess and those you may need to succeed in life, in school or in a career.

Nobody has all the answers or the skills but effective mentors know their weaknesses and have the confidence to find the right way to share and give what they need to help someone else become a better person, parent and student.

From the pool of prospective mentors, SCI will pair them with mothers in its Parent Outreach Program to provide continuing long-term support and create secure and meaningful relationships. Ideally, mothers will be paired together based on their unique needs, struggles and strengths.

Mentors provide intentional support to their mentees to provide one-on-one advice and an opportunity for candid dialogue on the challenges and questions tied to balancing motherhood.

The mentorship would cover a broad range of topics, from balancing career and family, to finding the best child care, and talking to managers about career goals of course, the best ways to help develop a baby’s brain.

If we can reach some moms of this generation, we can reach the children of the next generation.

A mentor can be the difference between success and failure. To have someone with perspective and experience is vitally important in building confidence and pathways to success.

Mentors can become the influential surrogate that allows mentees to think through difficult challenges together, break down barriers and open doors where necessary.

Mentors, sometimes intentionally — often unknowingly, plant seeds of wisdom in the hearts of others. They teach with their lives.

Mentors are supportive people who build relationships with other people by offering them guidance, support and encouragement to help create and cultivate positive and healthy development.

Mentors can help encourage positive choices, promote high self-esteem, support educational achievement and introduce new, life-building and life-changing ideas.

Through meaningful collaboration, we can help men and women advance and unleash the limitless potential they can offer their families, their children and their community to make themselves better people and their community a better place.

Find out more about mentoring programs for adults here.