On this chilly Monday, January comes to a close — as does the first month of 2011, as does National Mentoring Month.
In the interest of full disclosure, I had not thought about this month’s moniker until I saw it pop up around the non-profit blogsphere: on Social Media & Social Justice, Allison Jones catalyzed a discussion on mentoring and age — and how youth need not be barrier to providing career advice and support. She aptly points out that, through mentoring, “You’re forced to think about your choices: Saying “just because” doesn’t fly when you are mentoring someone. They want to know why you made certain choices and the consequences (good and bad).” And writing from the Indianapolis non-profit community, Jessica Journey blogs a tribute to three of her mentors, highlighting leaders who have transitioned from one sphere to another: from for-profit to n0n-profit or from foundations to education.
Taking her theme a bit farther, mentors have a particular power when they can alert a young person to the simple breadth and versatility of life. Especially for middle and high school students, who they are now can feel like who they will be forever — so a mentor who not only has incited social change and justice, but who took a few turns or alternative routes to get there, can provide hope and motivation. According to the MENTOR: National Mentoring Partnership: