January is Mentoring Month
January brings us National Mentoring Month. It started in 2002 by Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. It was designed to promote youth mentoring. Events are planned throughout the month that include call to actions and share the news: mentoring is making a difference in people’s lives.
- To raise awareness on the positive impact mentors have in the lives of young people
- To recruit needed individuals to fill the mentoring roles that young people are sometimes waiting for
- Mentoring as a Senior
- Intergenerational mentoring programs match seniors with younger people that need help whether scholastically or emotionally
Programs that provide mentoring between seniors and youth include:
- Senior Corps. Initiated by John F Kennedy, today, senior corps connects approximately 270,000 Americans to the people and places they can best serve. It is designed for the 55 and older crowd, helping them become mentors, coaches and companions to those that need them.
- Foster Grandparent Program. An offshoot of the Senior Corps, the Foster Grandparent program connects those 55 and over with children with exceptional needs to serve as role models, mentors and friends.
- The Lend-a-Hand Network Mentoring Program. Another program in which senior citizens are matched with students in need.
- Generations United, a non-profit dedicated to intergenerational mentoring, improving the lives of children, youth and older adults.
Mentoring not only benefits the children, increasing scholastic achievement as well as promoting emotional well-being, it helps the seniors as well. It brings value to their knowledge base; instills a sense of purpose and community involvement. Another interesting benefit seniors receive was unintended—older adults are learning about new technology from their younger counterparts. Students are showing improved reading scores. But possibly more important than their improved scholastics are the positive role models that seem to be making a difference in their lives. According to Generations United, “Youth involved in intergenerational mentoring programs are 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52 percent less likely to skip school.”
If you find your parent somewhat reluctant to join in, consider obtaining the services of an elderly care provider. They can provide transportation and accompany them to events and groups such as these in order to help “break the ice” and get them comfortable in their new role.