Three Big Reasons All Teens Need Mentors
Teens need mentors. Not just “troubled teens” but all teens. They need guidance from the outside, and a wise person in their corner that they can trust. Teens don’t just need someone to talk to about their day with however; there are three really big reasons all teens need mentors.
1. Mentors help teens build communication skills.
Today’s teens face unique challenges. Never before has society been as connected as it is, yet so far apart. More and more social interactions are taking place online, sometimes exclusively, and students are losing valuable face-to-face communication skills. According to Melissa Ortega, a child psychologist at New York’s Child Mind Institute, “They don’t know how to handle conflict face-to-face because so many things happen through some sort of technology.” Strong mentor relationships help students build communication skills.
Here’s what some of our students have to say about how their Winning Futures mentor have helped them communicate better:
“Before we had Winning Futures I was shy and quiet, and didn’t really talk to anyone. As soon as I met my mentor, I started opening up and being less quiet.” – Madison High School Student
“I had an interview and because of Winning Futures and practicing my interviewing skills, I didn’t stutter and I wasn’t scared. The interview tips helped.” – Harper Woods Student
2. Mentors encourage students to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Mentors have the unique opportunity to connect with students one-on-one and offer genuine life tips in ways that teachers and parents sometimes just can’t. Through the sharing of their own life journey, problems and failures included, mentors can encourage students to make better decisions in school and out.
Again, we’ve had many students comment on how their mentor has positively impacted their lives:
“I want to thank my mentor for being here for us. He helps us be better people in life.” – Madison High School Student
“She [my mentor] helps us realize our inner strengths that we don’t usually use. Having the program helped us realize we can do anything we want in life and to follow our dreams.” – Community High School Student
3. Mentors give students hope for the future.
According to How Stuff Works, millennials are the first generation to earn less than their parents. This can be very discouraging to students and create doubt that pursuing a higher education is something that would be a good option for them. The connections students make with their mentors allow them to explore career options that they may not know exist and encourage them to create strategic plans for their lives. This process builds students’ confidence in their futures.
“The most important thing I have learned thus far is to plan ahead. You never know what to expect in the future, and you don’t want to enter adulthood without knowing what to do next.” – Harper Woods High School Student
Mentoring is beneficial for all students, not just troubled teens. Great mentors help guide students to make good decisions, and help build the necessary life skills it takes to succeed as an adult. At Winning Futures, we’ve seen thousands of students’ lives transformed through mentoring. If you’d like to learn more about our award winning mentor programs and how you can become a mentor, visit our website at www.winningfutures.org/volunteer/mentor. Every student deserves a winning future.