Mentorship programs are extremely helpful for people – be it the mentors or the mentees. They promote personal growth and provide immense value to all participants involved. BBBSLI has various mentorship programs geared towards helping at-risk young individuals find the right direction in life.
While youth mentoring programs are traditionally known to be only helpful for teenagers, they are more than that. Being a mentor can teach you many things and improve your life. Mentors do not only give but also receive when they decide to provide youth mentorship.
What are Youth Mentoring Programs?
Youth mentoring programs are built to connect teenagers with adult mentors. Such programs ensure that young individuals can get guidance from experienced adults unrelated to them. Our youth mentorship program aims to provide young individuals with emotional support and life skills.
Youth mentorship programs at BBBSLI work by matching mentors with mentees. The match is supervised by our experts initially. Mentors or BIGS commit for a period of one year and have to spend a few hours every month with mentees or LITTLES. During these hours, they do different activities to build a connection with each other. The aim is for LITTLES to learn from BIGS and find a direction in which they want to take their life.
Benefits of Mentorship Programs for BIGS
If you are deliberating about being a BIG, it is important to know that this role comes with its own share of responsibilities. However, it is also a highly rewarding role with many benefits for your personal development. The various benefits a BIG can derive from our youth mentoring programs are mentioned below.
- Changing a Life – When you choose to be a BIG, you are not only mentoring a teen but also changing their lives. Many of our LITTLES come from a place of disadvantage, and you can provide them with the needed emotional support and life skills to excel in life.
- Developing Self-respect – There is something extremely rewarding about helping someone out. It gives you a profound sense of self-respect and also increases your self-esteem. Being able to help others and guide them towards a successful life is something you can be proud of yourself for. Many mentors have witnessed an improvement in how they see and perceive their skills.
- Gaining a Sense of Responsibility – When you are in charge of a mentee, you almost instinctively develop a strong sense of responsibility. Your work is to provide emotional support and guidance in personal and professional matters to the LITTLES. This will help you gain a sense of responsibility and be mindful of your actions and thoughts.
- Changed Perception – Working with LITTLES at a youth mentorship program will definitely change your perspective on life. They come from varying backgrounds – socially and economically. Working with them can change your outlook on life and give you a fresh viewpoint of how life can be lived in many ways.
- Sense of Fulfillment – Being a mentor will be a fulfilling experience for you. It is often difficult to feel personal fulfillment and accomplishment as adults. Mentoring provides one with an opportunity to give selflessly and feel a sense of pride as they see their mentees growing.
- Improving Interpersonal Skills – Being a BIG can help you improve your interpersonal skills. Learning how to communicate effectively comes with being a mentor. You also learn how to build trust and foster relationships. Overall, there is no dearth of values you can learn while participating in our youth mentorship program. These skills are valuable for your professionals and personal relationships as well.
- Better Understanding of Humans – Being a mentor also gives you a deep understanding of humans, especially children. Many mentors have found that working with LITTLES has also improved their relationships with the children in their lives.
- Building New Relationships – A relationship between LITTLE and BIG is precious. These relationships are of value for both, as there are many things mentors learn from their mentees, too. Additionally, our network of BIGS also helps you connect with others like you and network.
Tips to Provide Effective One on One Youth Mentorship
Youth mentorship programs have various benefits for BIGS. However, to provide the benefits to LITTLES, providing effective mentorship to them is efficient. We have provided some tips below that will help one provide effective one on one mentorship to mentees.
- Listen – Listening is an essential skill of being a mentor. Knowing how to listen and understand what the mentee is saying is essential. Without understanding the concerns, you won’t be able to help. So, ensure you develop your listening skills.
- Be Hopeful – There will be times when you feel pessimistic about the situation of your mentee, but always be helpful and cheerful. It is vital to motivate your mentee to make them optimistic and hopeful about their future. For this, you need to be hopeful as well.
- Create a Safe Place – In a mentorship program, creating a safe space for your mentee is essential. Creating an environment where they feel safe sharing their feelings and problems is important.
- Don’t be Judgemental – Being judgemental is a big no-no during our youth mentoring programs. Being a BIG requires you to have an open mind and be accepting of what your mentee tells you. If you judge LITTLES, they won’t be able to open up to you about their problems and might not accept your guidance.
- Be Solution-oriented – When talking to a LITTLE, focus on guiding them towards solutions. When they are telling you a problem, sympathizing is important, but helping them find a solution is more crucial.
- Do Activities and Be Fun – To build a connection with your mentees, do activities with them. These can include playing board games, drawing together, and more. Be fun and enjoy the mentoring process.
- Be a Good Example – The most important part of being a good mentor is to be a good example. You need to set an example for your mentee to help them be a good human being.