Bridges has been looking for new ways to discover first hand knowledge about mentors and mentee’s. I asked questions about myths and realities. Some of the adults who mentor are often freaked out that I would ask them questions about their concerns about mentoring when they first started, I would hear things like.
“I don’t know how to relate to a teen”
” I don’t have enough time,
“I can’t help someone else out right now when I can’t even help myself”
” I can’t devote time and attention to another child when I struggle to pay attention to my own kids”
But with some simple training and check in’s throughout the year for support, the adults are begging to mentor again the next year!
What the adults don’t know is that kids get freaked out too. Kids who are told they are getting a mentor say things like,
“Are they going to judge me?”
“Why? I will have no time to meet with them”
“Is my mentor going to buy me lots of stuff”
“Do I get to choose what we do for an activity”
But by the end of the mentoring year and we discuss re-matches, the youth are often so proud of their relationship with their mentor. A lot of times I hear the mentor say, that they don’t know what their life would be like without mentoring.” I feel honored and proud to be a mentor because I get to give back to a child who needs an extra role model in their life”. Bridges philosophy has always been that every child needs a mentor. It is very rewarding to hear mentors, community members, politician’s, and reporters say that Bridges is benefiting the communities we serve.
Here are some myths that adults have about being a mentor:
“We will become best friends”
” I will be able to see them each week”
“Their parents will be so grateful for me getting involved in their child’s life”
“My mentee and I will never have any problems’
It is hard to get kids or parents to return phone calls, texts, or emails, yet once we finally got in touch everything went well. A lot of times our mentors pair up with a another mentor match to share stories and plan an exciting outing.
Myths that kids have about the mentors:
” I don’t’ know this person so why would I spend time with them? It’s going to be weird.”
” I am afraid they will tell me what to believe”
” I am afraid that they will have high expectations of me”
Our mentors liked that their mentor was interested in them and not their parents. Mentors do tell you what they believe and encourage mentees to strive for success and to gain positive self esteem and confidence.
The reality is there’s a place for mentoring in the lives of youth, one that has a historic place in the life of our communities. We don’t expect the mentors to do all the preparation it takes to mentor. In fact, we expect Bridges to offer support, insight, activities, fundraisers and togetherness, and what better way to do that than through mentoring?