From the teacher who offers extra help after school to the local librarian who digs up obscure titles for a voracious reader, mentors are everywhere.
And research shows that mentoring works. According to “The Mentoring Effect,” a 2014 report by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, kids with mentors are less likely to become involved with drugs or the juvenile justice system.
They’re also more likely to attend school regularly, participate in sports and extracurricular activities, volunteer in their communities and graduate from college.
An affiliate of MENTOR, the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern PA (TMP) brings mentoring to more than 20,000 kids each year through partnerships with over 150 mentoring programs, including Gwen’s Girls and Amachi Pittsburgh.
The Hill District-based nonprofit offers structured mentoring opportunities, training and resources for individuals and organizations, but you don’t need to be part of a formal mentoring initiative to help children thrive.
TMP established Everyday Mentoring in 2013 to deliver the benefits of mentoring to even more young people in the Pittsburgh region by harnessing the power of existing relationships.
“Being open, aware and available to youth in everyday moments can show that they’re supported and empower them to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal,” says Kristan Allen, TMP’s director of marketing and communications.
“Parents, teachers, youth sports coaches, librarians, crossing guards – anyone who interacts regularly with young people can use Everyday Mentoring to help youth feel known, recognized, cared for and supported.”
This June, the initiative introduced its Weekly Tips email campaign. Every Tuesday morning, Everyday Mentoring shares advice with a list of parents, educators and others — 180 people and growing! Tips are simple but thought-provoking, from “Listen with empathy” to “Catch good behavior.”
Allen says, “Our goal is to make the information useful and easily accessible.”
For those who are interested in deepening their understanding of informal mentoring, Everyday Mentoring offers training that covers relationship-building, setting personal boundaries and helping young people discover their interests.
Training sessions also address the importance of being aware and present with children, being intentional with communication and empowering kids to ask for help when they need it. Though the workshops have only been offered for about a year, TMP staff has already trained 322 adults, whose mentoring potential could have an exponential impact on local youth.
The goal of the “movement,” as Allen describes it, is to equip adults with the skills they need to be more mentor-like with the kids they already know.
She stresses, “All adults have the opportunity to put Everyday Mentoring to use to make a positive impact in a child’s life.”
The next free training will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on July 20th at the TMP office, One Hope Square, 1901 Centre Ave. Workshop participants are encouraged seek out additional mentoring opportunities on the TMP website. Custom training programs are also available for groups all over the city.
Sign up for the Everyday Mentoring Weekly Tips emails for advice on how to help the young people in your life.