Celebrating National Mentoring Month with Success!
We all know mentoring is helpful, and we’ve all probably got people in our lives who we consider to be our own mentors. It might not be too often, though, that we get to see the benefit of mentoring play out right in front of us.
I still keep in contact with my first true mentor, my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Miller. I admired her kindness and dedication to the Mission Club. I couldn’t wait to join and collect food pantry items for our community and do arts and crafts with the residents at the nursing home across the street from our school. It meant so much to me to have someone like her I could learn from. Having a mentor in your life when you’re young can play a vital role in shaping who you decide to become. Because my mentor inspired me to help people in my own career, I get to see how mentors are impacting the lives of young people every day.
If you remember your first job interview, you probably also remember the self-doubt that came with it. I don’t think any of us are immune to that. I never had an interview prep class in high school, but the students Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program are lucky enough to have classes dedicated to learning how to interview like pros. During a recent lesson on elevator speeches and strengths and weaknesses, when one student was asked to “tell us a little about himself,” he immediately melted into his seat with nerves. Usually self-assured and verbose, he was suddenly reluctant and shy. He was hiding his mouth behind his hands and giving one-word answers. His mentor, who was in class with us, knew him to be different. She asked him to stand up.
“I know you, and I know you can do this. Go ahead… tell me about yourself.”
He looked around nervously at the other students.
His mentor started again, “Don’t look at them - don’t worry about them. You’re just talking to me. Come on and tell me about yourself. I know you like to talk!”
He smiled and put his hands down by his sides. Slowly, and with some coaching, he answered all the questions. Then, the mentor’s other mentees got up to practice, having seen that no one would judge them and we were all there to help them succeed. It might seem like a small moment – like any other moment in any other classroom at any other school – but for students in RAMP and High School High Tech, encouragement, understanding and, above all, patience go so far.
There are countless ways mentors help our students gain the confidence and skills they need to succeed. Sometimes they need a word of encouragement; sometimes they need someone to check to see how they did on a math test they were nervous about; sometimes they need someone to talk them through a nerve-wracking moment and remind them that they are capable; usually, they just need someone to keep showing up for them. The goal is that our students go into their first interviews and the rest of their lives with confidence in themselves and their capabilities. When things get tough, they’ll always be able to remember their mentor saying, “I believe in you – you can do this!”
If you have experiences you want to share with the youth in our community and a desire to be that reliable adult who keeps showing up, consider becoming a mentor with the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program. No moment spent mentoring is a moment wasted.
- Jacquie Privitera, Transition Manager
Learn more about our Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program, High School/High Tech, and Transition Program. If you have any questions about RAMP or are interested in becoming a mentor, please reach out to Yvonne Kelly at YKelly@eastersealshouston.org.
Thank you to our partner, Institute for Educational Leadership.