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Five Things You Need to Know about Mentoring

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Mentoring is one of the most rewarding and impactful things an adult can do for a student. “A small amount of time invested on your part to share your expertise can open up a new world for someone else,” states Mark Zuckerberg. Students with mentors benefit from having a supportive, non-family member adult helping them get through challenging life transitions.

Research shows that having a mentor offers several benefits to students such as enhanced self-esteem and confidence and improved behavior and interpersonal skills. If you are a new mentor, or interested in becoming a mentor, here are five important points we think you need to know about mentoring:

1. Mentoring is beneficial for both mentors and mentees.

A common misconception about mentoring is that only the mentee benefits from the relationship. 91% of Winning Futures mentors said that they developed new skills that have helped them improve professionally. Mentoring not only benefits mentees, but also mentors in a lifelong, impactful way.

2. Mentoring does not mean making decisions for your mentee.

A part of being a winning mentor is being a good listener and allowing your mentee to make his or her own decisions. Mentoring is not about choosing the right path for your mentee, but guiding him or her in the right direction. 87% of Winning Futures mentors stated that students were more prepared to overcome future obstacles after participating in the Winning Futures program. The activities and interactions the students have during the 22-week course help them develop decision-making skills. Mentors assist mentees by sharing their own experiences, listening to the students, and helping guide them in the direction of what is best for them.

3. Attitude is everything.

“Attitude is everything.” It’s our daily motto in the Winning Futures classroom, and is essential when building a strong mentor/mentee relationship. Aliya, a student at Cass Technical High School said, “Seeing my mentor’s smile keeps my spirits up. She is a great role model and I am thankful for her.”

4. Mentors impact their mentees lives.

Mentoring goes far beyond the 22 weeks of contact in the classroom. The interactions that take place and the relationships that are built have a lasting impact on students and their future decisions. LaKeisha Ross, a Winning Futures alumna said, “Before Winning Futures I felt that I was just a high school student who did not know what I really wanted in life. I knew that I wanted to attend college; I just did not have any idea where. My grades were not the best, but after the program, I attended college and maintained a 3.0 GPA.” LaKeisha just graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and works at Borgess Medical Center.

5. Many successful people have had a mentor in their lives.

What do Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? They all attribute some of their success to having had great mentors. A mentor shares wisdom, knowledge and experiences with his/her mentee, and helps mentees make wiser decisions for long-term success.

Mentoring empowers mentees and helps guide them to make important decisions throughout their lives. While there are many benefits of mentoring for both mentors and mentees, these are five we think all new mentors and interested mentors need to know.

To learn more about how you can get involved with Winning Futures, visit