Updated: Jan 31
Written by Kayla Garnett
Teachers, parents, friends – even significant others: these are the people that act as mentors to many. The importance of mentorship cannot be understated, especially in our world today. As a society, we have seen an exponential increase in the availability of mental health resources and services that serve not only to address the circumstances that cause mental health problems but find ways to change them. Mentors aid heavily in guiding youth into being strong decision makers, and in turn help them to manage and improve their mental states. National Mentoring Month illuminates the impact that mentors bring to communities and spotlight their importance in order to honor them and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
National Mentorship Month is a campaign started by a nonprofit organization called MENTOR. It lasts throughout the duration of January, and often has many mentorship related events and activities. MENTOR founded National Mentorship Month in order to “level out the playing field” for all, so to speak, as “potential is equally distributed; opportunity is not” (mentoring.org). Mentoring has a vast amount of benefits, but to me, the most important is the direction that it provides young, ambitious people.
It's so easy to formulate goals and ideas –young individuals often spot problems or opportunities in their lives that they would like to pursue, but often have no idea how to get there. All the greatest, most successful people have mentors. They all have people who they leaned on and trusted to help them achieve some of their most daunting goals all the way down to the goals that seemed the least significant.
Mentorship not only provides youth with structural direction and guidance, but it has also been seen to help improve confidence, communication skills, goal-setting, listening and organization skills, all vital tools for navigating adulthood (nationalcalendartoday.com). As MENTOR emphasized in their mission, this especially applies to those youth that may not be as fortunate or have access to the similar resources as their peers.
How Does This Affect You?
You can participate in National Mentoring Month (and beyond) by simply providing guidance to someone in your life. There is no “textbook definition” way to help someone make the right choice: just try to rely on your past experience to inspire others around you. This month, also make sure to show appreciation to those that mentor you, whether it be your parents, siblings, teachers, or anyone else. Make sure they know that you are grateful for their impact on your life!